Barton Community College and Russell Arts Council co-sponsor summer musical
June 18, 2012
Story by Joe Vinduska
Eye patches will be in excess when the Russell Arts Council and Barton Community College co-sponsor the summer musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30 in the Ruppenthal Middle School Auditorium, 400 North Elm St., Russell and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 1 at the Jack Kilby Square Performance Shell in downtown Great Bend.
“Wacky, irreverent and as entertaining today as it was when it first opened in 1879, ‘The Pirates of Penzance,’ spins a hilarious farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters and an eccentric Major-General, all morally bound to the often-ridiculous dictates of honor and duty,” according to an article in Music Theatre International.
The production is a 1980 adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 opera, which saw widespread success in London and early America. The adaptation premiered for free at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre in New York City. After a successful run at the Central Park theatre, the musical went on to become a Broadway mainstay at the Gershwin Theatre for 772 performances and was later adapted for a film that starred Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury and Linda Ronstadt.
Barton Theatre director Erin Renard will provide stage direction and choreography. Russell High School’s Choral Instructor Alex Underwood will serve as the Musical Director.
“It’s very over the top, very funny and light with lots of comedy and some excellent music,” Renard said.
Renard said putting on a summer production presents unique challenges.
“You would think it would be easier, but it’s really not, we have a condensed rehearsal schedule, so we rehearse Sunday through Thursday for about 5 weeks,” she said. “The biggest obstacle is planning rehearsal schedules around everybody’s summer activities, but our students are really awesome and they give 110 percent so we can put on a show in a shorter period of time. We just have really intense rehearsals.”
In addition to the onstage performers, the show will feature a middle-school chorus off-stage and a seven-piece orchestra.
Renard said the “lawn chair” performance in Jack Kilby Square will be somewhat abridged and more of a “concert style,” but will include much of the choreography and elements of the set will be transported to Great Bend for the show.
“Barton’s Dean of Academics Dr. Rick Abel always wanted to host an outdoor performance and support more community events in downtown Great Bend, so we were able to arrange to bring the show to them.”
Overall Renard said the summer production has gone extremely well.
“We’re having fun and the kids are doing such a good job, and I know they are learning a lot about acting, singing and how to put on a show. We were fortunate enough to cast some opera students from Fort Hays State to star in the lead roles.” Renard said.
Admission to the full-scale Russell showings is $7 and tickets are available at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. with curtain at 7:30 p.m. All seats are General Admission. The concert-style presentation in Great Bend is free.
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