Local director Heather Dunkin is bringing W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s classic, nautically-themed comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore for a stay at the Pentacle Theatre.
Tickets are $23 (with a $2 surcharge for the catered opening night) and can be purchased at PentacleTheatre or at the Pentacle Theatre box office (145 Liberty St. NE).
The musical — which had an original 571-performance run starting in 1878 at the Opera Comique in London — centers on a British captain’s daughter’s love with a low-class sailor against the wishes of the captain, who had arraigned a marriage for his daughter with a “suitable” gentleman.
The cast includes Dave Davis as Sir Joseph, Jeff Wit as Captain Corcoran, Jason Taylor as Ralph Rackstraw, Kevin Hamler-Dupras as Dick Deadeye, Ray Phipps as Bill Bobstay, Jonathan E. Jones as Bob Becket,
Karen Kumley as Josephine, Kathleen Walter as Cousin Hebe, and Christine Jungling as Little Buttercup.
Salem Weekly asked Dunkin some questions about the upcoming production.
SW: How would you describe your adaptation of H.M.S. Pinafore?
HD: My adaptation of H.M.S. Pinafore is rather traditional. I did not set the H.M.S. Pinafore in the future, no characters are cyborgs or robots in space, nor is the character of Sir Joseph mirroring a modern political character (that would have been interesting, though, in retrospect). It is set in 1878, when it was written, and the goal is to capture the original spirit of the original productions while paying respect to the timeless work of Gilbert and Sullivan. The H.M.S. Pinafore may be a bit grander and ornate than a normal warship during that time, but the captain and crew were meant to be a bit unconventional for the time period.
SW: What’s your pitch to the potential attendee on the verge of buying a ticket?
HD: If you are on the verge of buying a ticket, just do it. Yes, one may not be familiar with the show or with Gilbert and Sullivan, but this will be a very light-hearted and entertaining production. The music is catchy, the characters will be familiar, the story is ageless, however there is a “topsy-turvy” ending that no one will ever be able to guess. It’s all tongue-in-cheek humor, and though it is to be regarded with sincerity, no aspect of this takes itself too seriously.
SW: How did you end up directing H.M.S. Pinafore?
HD: Pentacle allows its directors to propose special projects as part of the following season. I wanted to bring a Gilbert and Sullivan show to the community. I love their works and I hope to help in continuing their tradition and exposing our audiences to the timeless brilliance that is Gilbert and Sullivan. I have often mentioned that I am an opera singer trapped in a musical theater person’s body and Gilbert and Sullivan is the perfect home for me. I have also had the joy of watching community members come together, work hard, and have a great time during the process.
SW: What other related projects have you worked on in the past?
HD: At Pentacle I have directed The Real Inspector Hound, and assistant directed Seussical the Musical, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Diviners. I have performed in several productions at Pentacle, including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, RENT!, Once Upon a Mattress, and My Fair Lady.
SW: Is there any other information you think the reader should know?
HD: My advice is to read the synopsis in the program before the show starts and then just sit back and enjoy the show. Oh and one other thing… Our percussion is being covered by cast members when they aren’t on stage. Kind of a cool thing.
Aug 24 to Sept 15
324 52nd Ave NW