“Can you sing?”

—Sir Joseph Porter
H.M.S. Pinafore


Auditions for The Pirates of Penzance Postponed

We regret to announce that we are postponing our production of The Pirates of Penzance for a year, rescheduling it for the fall of 2022.

This was an extraordinarily difficult, painful decision, but we believe that it was necessary to do so.  When we first scheduled the production a year ago, we assumed that things would be much further along by now, with the end of the pandemic in sight.  Unfortunately, that hope has moved further out into the future.

While we were confident that we would have been able to manage auditions, rehearsals and performances safely for ourselves, and despite the Governor’s easing COVID-19 restrictions in Minnesota, we are aware of our audience’s continued concern about returning to a crowded theater space too early.

We regret that this is the decision that we had to make.  We all want to be back in the theater and are deeply frustrated that our being able to do so has been delayed.  We know, however, that we will be back, sharing with our audiences and with each other the joys of presenting the wonderful works of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Auditions for The Pirates of Penzance Rescheduled

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company will hold auditions for its fall 2022 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance on a Saturday and Sunday in late May to mid June in 2022.

Auditions will be held at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, at 4901 South Chowen Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55410.

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 Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company 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.

The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas and tells the story of Frederic, who was apprenticed as a child, to a band of pirates by his nurse who, being hard of hearing, had mistaken her master’s instructions, apprenticing the boy to a “pirate” instead of a “pilot.”  Upon completing his 21st year, Frederic rejoices that he has fulfilled his indentures and is free to return to respectable society.  It turns out, however, that he was born on February 29th in leap year, and he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday … several decades in the future.  By the end of the opera, the pirates, a Major General who knows nothing of military strategy, his large family of beautiful daughters, and the timid constabulary all contribute to a delightful cacophony that can be silenced only by Queen Victoria’s name.

Roles in The Pirates of Penzance


          Major-General Stanley, (comic baritone)

          The Pirate King, (bass – baritone)

          Frederic, a Pirate apprentice (tenor)

          Samuel, the Pirate King’s lieutenant (baritone)

          Sergeant of Police, (bass)

          Mabel, Major-General Stanley’s daughter (soprano)

          Ruth, a piratical maid of all work (mezzo – contralto)

          Edith, Major-General Stanley’s daughter (mezzo)

          Kate, Major-General Stanley’s daughter (mezzo)

          Isabel, Major-General Stanley’s daughter (speaking role / chorus)


          Major-General Stanley’s daughters, the daughter’s chaperones,
          pirates, police


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

While approximately a third 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 receive a stipend of $200.00.

To Audition

We ask you to bring a performance resume as well as a completed audition form, which we will email to you.  Those without performance resumes may simply submit a completed audition form.  We also ask you to bring a copy of your head shot or another good photo of yourself.

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 to the Directors.

Call Backs

Most of those being considered for a named role in the production will be asked to return to Call Backs, which will be held on Monday following auditions, starting at 7:00 pm.  You will be notified via email if you are being called back.  Those emails will be sent out on Sunday after auditions have been completed that evening.

You will be notified for which role or roles you’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 near future.

Rehearsal Schedule

Full Cast Introductory Rehearsal: Tuesday, September 8, 2022, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

Ensemble rehearsals begin promptly at 7:00 pm and will run no later than 10:00 pm on Monday and Thursday nights.  While most ensemble rehearsals will be scheduled on Monday and Thursday nights, the ensemble may occasionally be called on Tuesday nights and/or on Saturday mornings between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Most principal rehearsals will be scheduled on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 pm and Saturday mornings from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Principals will be called on Mondays and Thursdays, as necessary.

Rehearsals are held at Lake Harriet Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue South, Minneapolis, from Tuesday, September 8, 2022 to Saturday, October 15, 2022.

Directions – Google Map 

Rehearsals will be held at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis from Monday, October 17, 2022 to the Thursday, October 27, 2022 Preview Performance.

Directions – Google Map

Tech Week: Sunday, October 23, 2022 to Wednesday, October 26, 2022, with the night off on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.  Estimated call: 6:30 to 11:00 pm.

The Sunday, October 23, 2022 rehearsal is an Understudy Rehearsal.  All cast members are called.  Estimated call: 6:30 pm.

Preview Performance: Thursday, October 27, 2022.  Estimated call: 6:30 pm.

Performance Schedule

Thursday, October 27, 7:30 pm, Preview Performance
Fridays, October 28, November 4, 11, 18, 7:30 pm, Evening Performances
Saturdays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19, 7:30 pm, Evening Performances
Saturdays, November 5, 12, 2:00 pm, Matinee Performances
Sundays, October 30, November 6, 13, 20, 2:00 pm, Matinee Performances

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company performs at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis.


We intend for casting to be completed by late June 2022.

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 will go 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.

Sign Up to Be Notified About Auditions

If you would like to receive direct notification for our auditions, please sign up for our audition mailing list.

“They sing so nicely too!”

—Lady Blanche
Princess Ida