The Pirates of Penzance romp onto the stage in Santa Rosa
New York’s Gilbert & Sullivan Players present musical masterpiece featuring live orchestra, soloists and chorus including Santa Rosa’s own, Laura Sudduth
A fun and carefree comic operetta allows for plenty of laughs when Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center for the Arts hosts “The Pirates of Penzance” by New York’s renowned Gilbert & Sullivan Players. The swashbuckling frolic comes to the Ruth Finley Person Theater for one-night-only on Wednesday, May 8th at 8 p.m. The Gilbert & Sullivan production, performed in its original format, is an exuberant musical theater masterpiece featuring the rich sounds of a 17-piece live orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists. Among the stellar cast for the May 8th production will be soprano Laura Sudduth of Santa Rosa. She joined New York’s Gilbert & Sullivan Players in 2012 and is currently on her first extended tour with the renowned company, performing in the ensemble and as a featured dancer at prestigious theaters across the country.
“I am thrilled to be performing in Santa Rosa at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. It feels like a triumphant return of sorts, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share this performance with my family, friends, and the community that raised me,” says Sudduth.
Sudduth is a 2004 graduate of Santa Rosa High School’s ArtQuest program. Her first performance at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts was in the Center’s East Auditorium in “As You Like It” with the Summerfield Waldorf School. She went on to perform with the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Summer Repertory Theatre at Santa Rosa Junior College. After graduating from UOP, Sudduth moved to New York to pursue a career in music and theater.
“The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players is one of the most respected theater companies in America. It is a rare privilege to have them come to Santa Rosa and we are especially excited to present Laura Sudduth as she takes the stage locally with this acclaimed company in ‘The Pirates of Penzance,’” says Anita Wiglesworth, Programming Director for Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
The production is your chance to get carried away by pirates, bumbling British Bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightfully dotty modern Major-General. Together, they’ll take you for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall. Written and performed in English, it tells the story of Frederic, indentured to a band of soft-hearted pirates; Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley; and the antics of her father and sisters, the pirates and the police…and, amongst all of this, Frederic and Mabel fall in love!
“Everyone loves the topsy-turvy world of Gilbert & Sullivan,” says Sudduth. “They wrote fun, witty material that challenges the classical vocalist and the actor in each of us. It’s a blast to perform that material with this group. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!”
“This Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, in particular, has delightful number after delightful number,” says Wiglesworth, “such as the original tune from which ‘Hail, hail the gang’s all here’ is drawn and the famous ‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General.’ It’s terrific. It’s funny.”
Directed and conducted by Albert Bergeret with choreography by Bill Fabris, “The Pirates of Penzance” resonates with classic elegance and power while the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players vibrancy, energy and contemporary sense of humor keep the show alive and exciting to a modern audience.