If you’re looking for a well-plotted, logical plot, you won’t find it in “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
If you’re looking for a well-plotted, logical plot, you won’t find it in “H.M.S. Pinafore.” What you will find in the Gilbert and Sullivan classic operetta is great music, fun and some surprisingly sharp satirical jabs.
The Pittsburg State University Opera Workshop, in conjunction with the PSU music department, will present “Pinafore” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.
Patrick Howle, director of the Opera Workshop, described “Pinafore” as “a rollicking romp through naval life, class distinctions and melodramatic villainy.”
The story is set entirely aboard the ship HMS Pinafore. Josh Crown sings the role of Captain Corcoran. His pretty daughter, Josephine, will be sung by Madison Youngberg on Friday and Alyssa Marsh on Sunday.
The girl has caught the eye of Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, sung by Aaron Hayse. There were those, back in 1878 when this made its debut, who believed that Sir Joseph’s character was based on W.H. Smith, who had recently become First Lord of the Admiralty. Like Sir Joseph, Smith had no military or naval experience and was totally unqualified for his high post.
Josephine, despite Sir Joseph’s high rank, finds his attentions nauseating. Instead, she is deeply in love with handsome young Ralph, sung by Jayson Canton, but realizes they could never marry because she is a captain’s daughter and Ralph is a common seaman. Ralph is also painfully aware of their difference in social status.
However, after Sir Joseph arrives on board and starts encouraging the captain to treat his sailors almost as equals, Ralph gets up the courage to declare his love to Josephine. Though it breaks her heart, she spurns him.
Ralph decides he will kill himself, though he doesn’t even know which end of the gun to put against his head. Horrified, Josephine rushes to him and reveals her love. They decide to elope, but the dastardly sailor Dick Deadeye, sung by Aaron Powell, tells Captain Corcoran.
Just when it looks like all hope of happiness is lost for the lovers, Little Buttercup, sung by Lisa Gerstenkorn, talented veteran of many PSU performances, reveals a long-kept secret that puts an entirely different spin on the situation.
It’s also one of the most implausible plot twists W.S. Gilbert ever concocted, which is saying a lot, but it guarantees a happy ending for all, even Sir Joseph Porter.
Among the other cast members are Jordan Riggs as the boatswain and Kristina Parsons as Hebe, one of Sir Joseph’s many female cousins.
Both performances are accompanied by the Southeast Kansas Symphony under the direction of Raul Munguia.
The show is perfectly acceptable for all ages, except for that one time when the captain says a bad word, but he’s severely scolded for it.
Page 2 of 2 - Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and those under 17, and $5 for groups of 10 or more. PSU students will be admitted free. Tickets are available in the PSU ticket office in the Weede Physical Education Building, 620-235-4796, or at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium on the day of the performance.