H.M.S. Pinafore

A well-established tradition of our annual Last Gasp Cast Bash has become Assistant Stage Manager Malka Key’s contribution of a synopsis of our production sung to the tune of one of the songs from the show.  

In 2015, following our production of H.M.S. Pinafore, Malka sang her song, to an appreciative audience, to the tune of “When I Was a Lad.”  She did so entirely from memory.

In Pinafore, there is Josephine:
As captain’s daughter, she is caught between
From above wooed by the fleet’s first lord
From below it’s by a sailor, Ralph, who works onboard.

(And the captain’s thing for Buttercup can’t be ignored.)

From the sailor to the captain, there’s despondency,
But be assured the plot will end up happily.

When Ralph determines to plead his case,
Knowing Josephine is far above his place,
His proffered love she at once rejects,
Interspersed by brief asides in which she introspects.

(Simple eloquence Ralph perorates to great effects.)

Asides to us reveal her depth of agony,
But be assured the plot will end up happily.

Ralph turns to suicide to end his run.
Josephine rushes in as he’s begun.
And the gun he steals to commit this deed
Is the only gun that Pinafore appears to need.

(There’s a cat of nine tails later on, we do concede.)

Now a gun as a prop portends fatefully,
But be assured the plot will end up happily.

Dick Deadeye tells of their plan to fly
In the night to seal up their marriage tie.
The captain intercepts the pair’s farewell,
But he swears at them and ends up in a dungeon cell.

(For Sir Joseph disapproves of using language fell.)

So he breaks his vow not to use a “D,”
But be assured the plot will end up happily.

When Joseph learns Ralph’s plan, distress,
Pain, amazement, and surprise his eyes express.
But then Buttercup says what she’s concealed
Is she switched Ralph and the Captain, which must be repealed.

(And we overlook the aging gaps that she’s revealed.)

This swap lets everyone wed joyously
And that is how the plot will end up happily

Now patrons all, whatever shows you see,
If the characters seem all in misery
In a Gordian knot that they can’t unspool,
Be careful not to overlook this simple rule:

(Plots of comic operettas can at times seem cruel.)

If perhaps two were transposed in infancy,
Then be assured the plot will end up happily.

Lesley Hendrickson, the Director of our 2015 production of H.M.S. Pinafore, set the operetta in 1942.  She felt that doing so, setting the story against the looming backdrop of World War II, aboard a ship that might not return from war, lent a poignancy to the operetta’s love stories.  

This change of time period, of course, resulted in a number of changes that had to be made to the show itself.  Sailors in the “Kings Navy” in 1942, for example, had to be clean shaven.  While all the men dutifully complied, doing so was something of a painful challenge for at least two of the perpetually bearded men of the company.

This song, written by Jim Brooks, and sung to the tune of “Kind Captain, I’ve Important Information,” was performed at the 2015 Last Gasp Cast Bash, by Jim Brooks and Wally Benbenek.

Jim:

Hey, Wally, Pinafore’s our show this season
And let me tell you something quite bizarre
It’s set in 1940’s for some reason
You’ll have to shave your beard to be a star

Wally:

I’ll have to shave my beard off, I’ll have to shave my beard off
I’ll have to shave my beard just to be a star!

Jim:

You’ll have to shave your beard off, you’ll have to shave,
You’ll have to shave your beard just to be a star!  

Wally:

Say, Jim, you play a sailor not a soldier
You’re not a Tommie, you’re a tar, what’s more
Your white beard made you look a little older
Although I know you’ll soon be 64.
Oh yes, a little older, oh yes, a little older  
Sing homage to the Beatles when you’re 64.

Jim:

Oh yes a little older.  A little old,
Sing homage to the Beatles when I’m 64.

Jim:

You’ve shaved, you say you look just like your father
His Polish chin you just may not adore
Each day you have to shave it’s such a bother
I wonder if you’ll grow your beard once more.

Wally:

I wonder if I’ll grow it.  I wonder if I’ll grow it.
Now that the show is over, will it grow once more?

Jim:

I wonder if you’ll grow it.  I wonder if?
Now that the show is over, will it grow once more?   

Wally:

Next year is Iolanthe and the setting
With Peer below and Peri up above
Could be the 1960’s, I am betting
With fairies singing “All You Need Is Love”!
With fairies softly singing, with fairies softly singing
Together with the Beatles, “All You Need is Love”!

Jim:

With fairies softly singing, with fairies sing.
Together with the Beatles, “All You Need Is Love”!

With any theater production, there are dozens of people who work “behind the scenes” to do all that is necessary to bring a show to the stage.  These unsung heroes include those who build sets, sew costumes, gather props and, of course, those who sell the tickets.

This song, written and sung by Eric Pasternack, to the tune of “I’m Called Little Buttercup,” was performed at the 2015 Last Gasp Cast Bash.

Hail, audience folk, buyer of a ticket,
We’re here two hours a day to help you pick it.
You finally know what day you want to go
To see us in our Pinafore-ish show.

You called up the box office
There with your socks off, it
Seemed like you wanted to buy.
When I’m doing Box office,
There with my socks off, you
Make me feel I want to cry.

You ask me for Sunday, the previous Monday,
But Sunday’s been sold out for weeks.
You can’t find your tickets, your child has rickets,
Exchanging your tickets you seek.

You’ve dialed our number
Awoke me from slumber,
And waited on hold for a while,
I’ve answered inquiries and checked online diaries
And given you help with a smile.

So call up the box office, buy of your box office,
Patrons should never be shy.
So call up the box office, buy of your box office,
Come, of your box office buy.