Ahoy, Ladies! This fall the theatre department staged The Pirates of Penzance, the first-ever Gilbert and Sullivan show to be performed at Whitworth. The play follows the zany adventures of young Frederic, whose father instructs his nurse to have the boy apprenticed as a pilot. The nurse thinks the father says "pirate," and trouble ensues. Frederic is apprenticed to a band of sentimental pirates, and, when he reaches his 21st year, his indenture is at last over and he happily moves on. When he meets the beautiful Mabel, one of the many daughters (pictured) of Major-General Stanley, they fall in love and decide to marry. Complications arise when the besotted pirates decide to marry the rest of the major-general's daughters, and Frederic's birthdate turns out to be a bit iffy.
W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are the undisputed masters of comic opera, whose work shaped significantly the modern musical comedy. The Pirates of Penzance premiered in 1879 at the Fifth Avenue Theater, in New York, where it was a hit with audiences and critics. The show was a hit with Whitworth audiences over Parents'/Homecoming Weekend, as well, and it established another first for Whitworth Theatre: The department pre-sold every ticket for all three Homecoming Weekend performances.