The Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert’s original Act II Finale to The Pirates of Penzance was a reprise of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.”  Later, the operetta was revised and the Act II Finale became a reprise of “Poor Wandering One.”

In 1980, Joseph Papp staged a new production of The Pirates of Penzance in New York’s Central Park, later taking it to Broadway.  Papp’s “Errol Flynn, swash buckling” interpretation of the operetta was fresh and innovative, and has significantly influenced most subsequent productions of the operetta.  Papp made a number of textual and musical revisions, including the restoration of Gilbert’s original finale, placing it immediately before the reprise of “Poor Wandering One” so that both finales were sung, one after the other.

Lesley Hendrickson, the director for our 2011 production of The Pirates of Penzance, decided that adding the original finale back into the operetta, as Joseph Papp had done, was an ideal way to help establish the couples at the end of the show, in a way that was not otherwise accomplished.

Gilbert had originally assigned the following lines to Ruth, the Pirate King, Mabel and the Sergeant, followed by the Major General.  In his staging, Joseph Papp distributed the lines among more members of the cast.  Lesley assigned them to all nine of the principals.

In our 2011 production of The Pirates of Penzance, Kate was played by Molly Sheilds, Samual by Joe Hendren, Edith by Victoria Valencour, The Pirate King by Waldyn Benbenek, Frederic by Eric Mellum, Mabel by Alice McGlave, Ruth by Therese Walth, Sergeant of Police by Christopher Michela and Major-General Stanley by Mather Dolph.

Kate:

At length we are provided, with unusual facility,

Samuel:

To change piratic crime for dignified respectability.

Edith:

Combined, I needn’t say, with the unparalleled felicity

Pirate King:

Of what we have been longing for – unbounded domesticity.

Frederic:

Tomorrow morning early we shall quickly be personified –

Mabel:

Hymeneally coupled, conjugally matrimonified.

Ruth:

And this shall be accomplished by that doctor of divinity

Sergeant of Police:

Who happily resides in the immediate vicinity.

All:

Who happily resides in the immediate vicinity.
Who happily resides in the immediate vicinity.
Who happily resides in the immediate vicini-cini-ty.

Major-General:

My military knowledge, thought I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century.
But still, in getting off my daughters – eight or nine or ten in all,
I’ve shown myself the model of a modern Major-General!

All:

But still, in getting off his daughters – eight or nine or ten in all,
He’s shown himself the model of a modern Major-General!