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, and again in 2023, 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:
(And the captain’s thing for Buttercup can’t be ignored.)
From the sailor to the captain, there’s despondency,
When Ralph determines to plead his case,
(Simple eloquence Ralph perorates to great effects.)
Asides to us reveal her depth of agony,
Ralph turns to suicide to end his run.
(There’s a cat of nine tails later on, we do concede.)
Now a gun as a prop portends fatefully,
Dick Deadeye tells of their plan to fly
(For Sir Joseph disapproves of using language fell.)
So he breaks his vow not to use a “D,”
When Joseph learns Ralph’s plan, distress,
(And we overlook the aging gaps that she’s revealed.)
This swap lets everyone wed joyously
Now patrons all, whatever shows you see,
(Plots of comic operettas can at times seem cruel.)
If perhaps two were transposed in infancy,
There must be something about Gilbert and Sullivan’s songs that lend themselves to the creation of alternate lyrics! Stephen Hage’s first experience with Gilbert and Sullivan was his middle school’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore. After the show, a few of the cast members presented an alternate version of the show, with alternate lyrics, to the school choir, with the indulgence of the very patient choir teacher … who had also been the Music Director of the production. Suffice it to say that Josephine didn’t come to Ralph’s rescue and the presentation ended with an unhappy ending … for Ralph!
This very brief alternate lyric, resurrected from the distant past, was sung to the introduction of “I Am the Captain of the Pinafore,” by Scott A. Gorman, as the Captain, joined by the sailor’s chorus, at the 2023 Last Gasp Cast Bash.
My gallant crew, where are you?
Sir, we’re hiding!
(Eagerly) I hope you’ve all hid well.
Quite well, and you, sir?
I have found a reasonable place,
You’ll never find us!
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 by Eric Pasternack, and sung to the tune of “I’m Called Little Buttercup,” was performed by Eric at the 2015 Last Gasp Cast Bash and by Amanda Jenkins at the 2023 Last Gasp Cast Bash.
Hail, audience folk, buyer of a ticket,
You called up the box office
You ask me for Sunday, the previous Monday,
You’ve dialed our number
So call up the box office, buy of your box office,
Elizabeth Brandt and Kat Felicis Ioco, two members of the orchestra, sang the following alternate lyric song to the tune of “I’m Called Little Buttercup,” at the 2023 Last Gasp Cast Bash.
The song referred to the percussion “toys” that were played by cast members immediately offstage, in the orchestra pit, in the spirit of Spike Jones, during the productions’ planned “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore” encores. Elizabeth brought a large collection of toys with her, which were played be the company members during the final portion of the song.
Oh, we are the orchestra,
We have violin 1 and violin 2 fun,
Don’t forget the oboe, or clarinet in A,
And then there’s the brass, who are really bad ass,
But when it comes down to fun,
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.
Hey, Wally, Pinafore’s our show this season
I’ll have to shave my beard off, I’ll have to shave my beard off
You’ll have to shave your beard off, you’ll have to shave,
Say, Jim, you play a sailor not a soldier
Oh yes a little older. A little old,
You’ve shaved, you say you look just like your father
I wonder if I’ll grow it. I wonder if I’ll grow it.
I wonder if you’ll grow it. I wonder if?
Next year is Iolanthe and the setting
With fairies softly singing, with fairies sing.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company proudly recognized its Tenth Anniversary with a celebration following the performance of H.M.S. Pinafore on April 13, 1989. This event included an on-stage presentation, a drawing for prizes and refreshments in the lobby.
As a part of the celebration, the company sang the following alternate lyric song, sung to the tune of “For He Is an Englishman.”
Jim Hart and Fishel though lowly born,
We are a G and S band.
We are a G and S band.
Dick Fishel himself has said it,
For we might have sung songs in Roosian, Italian, French or Proosian,
But in spite of all temptations to sing songs from other nations,
For in spite of all temptations to sing songs from other nations,