Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert and Sullivan Society’

H.M.S. Pinafore: this saucy ship’s a beauty

This production of H.M.S. Pinafore captivates. The orchestra’s bigger and brighter than ever (19 members counted), and so’s the chorus (28 members counted). Both the men and the women of the chorus excel, and for once the men get to dance more than the women. The orchestra is bold and bright, a true pleasure to hear.

Austin favorites Holton Johnson, Russell Gregory, Janette Jones, and David Fontenot reprised starring roles to great applause; Gil Zilkha as the captain and Carol Brown as Josephine, his daughter, shone. We attended the Sunday matinee that was preceded by a one-hour program for young people. H.M.S. Pinafore held the attention of children for the entire performance. There was no difficulty at all in understanding the snappy lyrics, so clearly sung, but there are supertitles above the stage for anyone who may find them to be a helpful supplement to the performance.

This show is crammed with songs that are not to be forgotten. Most are jaunty and funny; some are a bit more serious and are treated so (for example, “Refrain, audacious tar”). Pinafore will make happy people happier and will brighten the darkest day.

Remaining performances are: Thursday, June 19, 7:30 pm; Friday, June 20, 7:30 pm; Saturday, June 21, 2 pm and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, June 22, 2 pm. All seats are reserved; tickets may be purchased on line for pick-up at the theater (Brentwood Chistian School, 11908 North Lamar).

Thank you, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin!

Hail, hail to piracy

Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Pirates of Penzance Only two performances remain, one tonight at 8 o’clock and one tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock. Today’s matinee performance of The Pirates of Penzance was dedicated to children. Even after a precurtain show of costume-making, balloon-twisting, and swordplay, most of the kids, some of them very young, lasted well for the entire performance.

The production puts a grand chorus of 18 singers on the stage, each capable of a solo turn, and a delightful and professional 15-piece orchestra in the pit. These shows are at the performing arts center at Crockett High, 5601 Manchaca. I’ve been to a performance there once before, but a long time ago. The acoustics best those at the new Long Center, if you ask me (not that anyone has!). Everything is audible and very natural-sounding.

The Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Society is an organization of volunteers. Generous gifts from stout local supporters pay for the orchestra, I believe, and many are those who vie for the featured roles. Those selected to fill them did an admirable job.

Even with all the small children there, which some (not I) consider to be a drawback, the house was nearly full. Buying a ticket at the door is very informal and refreshments are available. There’s lots to incite laughter and the many sentimental and affecting tunes do their work as well. Remember; it will be another year before the next big performance comes around. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy this one.

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