“Can you sing?”

—Sir Joseph Porter
H.M.S. Pinafore


Auditions for H.M.S. Pinafore

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company will hold auditions for its October – November 2023 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Saturday, June 3, 2023, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm and Sunday, June 4, 2023, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

Auditions will be held at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, 6820 Saint Patrick’s Drive, Edina, Minnesota 55439. Enter the church facility from the west parking lot, off of Gleason Road. The entry is near the right, south end of the building.

This production will be directed by Gary Briggle, with Music Direction by Dr. Randal Buikema.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company presents its shows at the Conn Theater, 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company welcomes and strongly encourages people of all races, identities, and backgrounds to audition. We believe that our shows are brought to life when the stories unfold onstage within a fully realized community, with both lead and chorus characters having distinct identities and relationships.

Sign up for auditions HERE

H.M.S. Pinafore

H.M.S. Pinafore is Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic tale of love and duty and takes place aboard the British warship H.M.S. Pinafore. Captain Corcoran’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, although her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lod of the Admiralty. She abides by her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The captain discovers this plan, but a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically to bring a happy ending to the story.

H.M.S. Pinafore’s humor focuses on love between members of different social classes and lampoons the British class system in general. The operetta also pokes good-natured fun at patriotism, party politics, the Royal Navy, and the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority. H.M.S. Pinafore is, was and remains one of the most successful and popular of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works and is the work that firmly established Gilbert and Sullivan’s place in history.

Roles in H.M.S. Pinafore


     Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., First Lord of the Admiralty (comic baritone)

     Captain Corcoran, Captain of the H.M.S. Pinafore (lyric baritone)

     Ralph Rackstraw, Sailor (tenor)

     Dick Deadeye, Sailor (bass – baritone)

     Boatswain, Deck Crew Foreman (baritone)

     Carpenter’s Mate, Sailor (bass)

     Josephine, Captain Corcoran’s Daughter (soprano)

     Cousin Hebe, Sir Joseph’s Cousin (soprano / mezzo soprano)

     Little Buttercup, A Bumboat Woman (mezzo-soprano / contralto)


     Sailors, Sir Joseph’s Sister, Cousins, Aunts


All principal roles for the production will be cast through these auditions. No principal roles are pre-cast.

In addition to casting the principal roles, the directors will cast covers (understudies) for each principal role through these auditions. These covers (understudies) will be cast as members of the chorus, but will be offered the opportunity to appear in a principal role in one performance, by mutual agreement with the person cast in the principal role.

While approximately a fourth of the ensemble is already filled by performers who are company members, the remaining ensemble vacancies, all voices, will be filled through these auditions.

All performers will be offered a stipend of $200.00.

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements and the Company’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan

We require all those auditioning to have received the bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccination, regardless of any and all previous Covid-19 vaccinations. Proof of the bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccination will be required to audition.

Those conducting auditions will have received the bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccination.

The company’s current Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan can be viewed on our website. These protocols will be updated over the summer, based on CDC recommendations, and anticipated conditions for the fall.

To Audition

You may sign up online to audition at a specific time HERE.

When you submit for an audition appointment, you will be prompted to submit your performance resume, your head shot or another good photo of yourself, and proof you’ve received the bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccination, all of which will be required to audition, as noted above.

We prefer that you audition with a song or aria in English, but other languages are acceptable. Your selection may be an opera or operetta piece, a Gilbert and Sullivan song, a show tune, etc. No pop or rock music please.

An accompanist will be provided. We strongly recommend that all those auditioning prepare an accompanied piece rather than something unaccompanied.

You do not need to prepare a monologue. The Directors may provide you with sides during your audition. If they do so, you will rehearse the sides privately with others who are auditioning and then present it to the Directors.

Call Backs

Call Backs will be held only if deemed necessary by the Directors. Some or all roles may be cast based on the auditions, without Call Backs.

If Call Backs are held, they will be scheduled for Monday, June 5, 2023, starting at 7:00 pm. All those who will be called back will be notified via email on Sunday, June 4, 2023, after Sunday’s auditions have been completed.

Those being called back will be notified of which role or roles they’ll be asked to read and sing. Sides will be provided at Call Backs. The music and sides that will be used for specific roles will be available on this page in the future.


We intend for casting to be completed by Monday, June 19, 2023.

We will call those being offered principal roles first. They are given a limited amount of time to accept or decline the offer before the offer goes to the next candidate. After the principal roles have been filled, those being offered Ensemble roles will be called. Finally, we will notify via email those whom we are unable to cast. This process may take up to two weeks, but everyone who auditions will be called or notified via email.


Rehearsals are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Typically, the chorus rehearses on Mondays and Thursdays. The Directors, however, may call the chorus to rehearse on some Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Typically, the principals rehearse on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Principals will be added to the Monday and Thursday rehearsals, as scenes which include them are rehearsed.

All cast members must understand that they might be called and should be available all Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

All cast members are expected to attend every rehearsal to which they are called unless their absence has been approved in advance or due to illness or emergency. Those who miss more than two rehearsals may expect a reassignment of blocking and business on stage. Excessive absenteeism may result in dismissal from the cast.

Rehearsals are held at a venue to be determined, from Tuesday, September 5, 2023 to Saturday, October 14, 2023.

Rehearsals will be held at the Conn Theater, 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, from Monday October 16, 2023 to the Thursday, October 26, 2023 Preview Performance.

Directions – Google Map

Performance Schedule

Performances will take place with a 15-show production schedule, including the Preview Performance.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Thursday, October 26, 7:30 pm, Preview Performance
Fridays, October 27, November 3, 10, 17, 7:30 pm, Evening Performances
Saturdays, October 28, November 4, 11, 18, 7:30 pm, Evening Performances
Saturday, November 4, 11, 2:00 pm, Matinee Performances
Sundays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19, 2:00 pm, Matinee Performances

Attendance for Tech Week rehearsals and all performances are mandatory, except for only the most serious circumstances of illness or emergency, or in the very exceptional event that the role has been cast with the understanding that a person will be missing a specific performance. Without any exception, however, the Directors or Stage Manager must be notified by the cast member of a pending absence. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the cast.

Sign Up to Audition for H.M.S. Pinafore

If you would like to audition for H.M.S. Pinafore, please sign up HERE.

“They sing so nicely too!”

—Lady Blanche
Princess Ida