PIRATES OF PENZANCE
Auditions Mar. 11th and 12th
Directed by Shannon Cheney
Auditions Mar. 11th and 12th from 7p to 9:30p
Callbacks Mar. 14th by invitation only
Show Runs Jun. 5th through Jun. 27th
On his 21st birthday, Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate gang by his nanny when he was a young boy, informs the Pirate King that he has fulfilled his duty and will now go on to live the rest of his life in an upright manner. He believes it is also his duty to disband the pirate gang. He takes his nanny, Ruth, with him as he leaves the pirate ship, thinking she will make a good wife. Almost immediately, they happen upon a group of young ladies on an outing to the beach. Frederic sees their youthful beauty, and rejects Ruth, who is 47 years old. Frederic immediately falls in love with the youngest of the sisters, Mabel.
The rest of the pirate gang catch up with Frederic and Ruth, and they descend on the young ladies, who the pirates vow to marry. The father of the girls, Major-General Stanley, shows up and informs the pirates that he is an orphan, knowing the gang has resolved to never take advantage of orphans as they are all orphans themselves. They give up the fight, and leave Frederic behind as the girls, their father, and Frederic go back to the family home.
It is later revealed that the Major-General is not an orphan. He lied in order to save himself and his daughters from the pirates. Frederic is determined to fight back against the pirates in order to defend and protect his fiance and her family, so he recruits the local police force to help him. As they are getting ready for the big showdown, Ruth and the Pirate King are able to talk to Frederic alone in order to inform him that his apprenticeship is actually still active since he was born in Leap Year on February 29th, and therefore has not yet reached his 21st birthday. Reluctantly, he rejoins the pirate gang because of his sense of duty.
The police and the pirates fight, the girls scream, the Major-General . . . generals. The pirates eventually prevail. At this point, Ruth informs all involved that the pirates are really misunderstood young men who are loyal to the queen. All is forgiven, and the pirates each get a daughter to wed.
Wed & Thur Mar. 11th and 12th from 7pm – 9:30pm
Callbacks will be Saturday Mar. 14th by invitation only.
The singing style that works best for this style of music is chest/belt singing. This is not the kind of music that works well with heavy vibrato. Please highlight your chest/belting style in your choice for an audition piece. Though the play takes place in England, we will not necessarily go for heavy British accents. We are looking, instead, for excellent diction without a distinct accent.
Prepare a 1 minute section of a song that highlights your vocal and dramatic skills. This play is silly and playful--even farcical. We need a variety of different looks and personalities represented in our pirates and sisters. Strong, loud voices are a must. Strong emotional facial expressions are important. Comedic timing will definitely be considered. Don’t be afraid to have fun and push your audition to the outer limits so we can see what you are capable of.
We will have a pianist available for auditions. We will also have speakers you can plug your phone into if you would like to bring an accompaniment track. We will not have scheduled times for individual auditions. We will do them in order of arrival. Please have your audition form filled out with a headshot attached to give to us at the time of your audition. Please include a list of conflicts you will have from April 1 to June 27 on your audition form. We will take these into consideration when casting and creating the rehearsal schedule.
We will do a short dance audition for our call backs as well as sides from the play. This will be by invitation only.
Director’s Note: The plot is meant to be silly, and we will definitely play up the silliness. This play is traditionally set in the 1880’s. However, we are going to mix it up a bit and set our version in the late 1960’s. Think Beatles movies--Yellow Submarine, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We’re going to have a little bit of fun with that.
For now, the plan is to rehearse Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for the month of April. We will likely add Saturdays in May. We will generally rehearse in small groups to begin with (sisters, pirates, police) and then expand to larger groups as we learn the music and choreography. This musical is heavy on the music, so there will be a significant amount of time devoted to learning the pieces. You will have to spend some time on your own memorizing the lyrics.
Frederic, male lead, tenor, can pass for 21: The play opens on Frederic’s 21st birthday. He is innocent, genuine, and has an extremely strong sense of duty. The sisters sing of his pitiful tale and rare beauty. He exudes pathos but in a completely manly sort of a way.
The Pirate King, male lead, baritone, 25-40 age range: This is a manly man who loves the life of a pirate, but also has a soft heart for orphans and poetry. He has to move well. There will be a fair amount of choreographed movement/dancing and sword fighting. I would love to see some shaggy hair and facial hair for all pirates, but especially for the Pirate King. Because we are setting this in the late 60’s, he will be an interesting fusion of hippie and pirate.
Mabel, female lead, soprano, can pass for 18: Mabel is the youngest of the Major-General’s daughters. She is beautiful and has an angelic voice. She is trusting and innocent, which makes her a great match for Frederic. The other sisters are annoyed by Mabel, though they still love her.
Ruth, female lead, alto, can pass for 47: It is Ruth’s fault that Frederic has been apprenticed to the pirate gang. She blames her mistake on being hard of hearing, but in truth, she is rather absent minded. She wants to marry Frederic, who at first appears to be a willing participant--until he discovers that she is old and plain compared to the daughters of the Major-General. After Frederic’s rejection, she realigns with the pirates to help them to win Frederic back to their crew.
Major-General Stanley, male supporting, tenor, mature (must appear to be at least mid-50’s, up to mid-60’s): Major-General Stanley lies to the pirates by telling them he is an orphan in order to save himself and his daughters. He is very proud of the fact that he is a major-general. He feels bad about lying about being an orphan. This character must be lovable, jolly, on the blustery side, and somewhat silly. His diction must be excellent. One of the most known songs from this play is The Major-General song which is very fast. The ability to sing is secondary to the ability to articulate accurately and quickly.
Sergeant: male supporting, bass, adult: In most productions of this musical, the police are played as Keystone Cops. For our version, they will be heavily influenced by the Beatles in Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The costumes will be similar, and there will be a similar playful approach to their duties. The sergeant has to be able to move/dance. There will be a lot of physical comedy associated with the sergeant and the rest of the police. They love to be policemen, but they are not necessarily brave. This will come out especially at the climax of the play.
Pirates: We are looking for a variety of personalities and vocal ranges. Some pirates will also play policemen in Act 2. All need to move well and have excellent comedic timing and facial expressions. We want big voices with big personalities. Pirates should be willing to grow some facial hair. Long hair is a plus. Depending on auditions, we may use some females in the pirate gang.
Sisters: Each daughter should be a distinct individual both in looks and personality. The daughters should have big, belty voices. Good use of facial expressions and body movement are essential. The daughters will have a Bohemian vibe for costuming.
Policemen: In most productions of this musical, the police are played as Keystone Cops. For our version, they will be heavily influenced by the Beatles in Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The costumes will be similar, and there will be a similar playful approach to their duties. There will be a lot of physical comedy associated with the police. They love to be policemen, but they are not necessarily brave. This will come out especially at the climax of the play. The policemen will also play pirates in Act 1.