Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan, D'Oyly Carte, Joseph Papp, Operetta, Arthur Sullivan, W.S. Gilbert, Mabel Stanley, Contemporary Operetta
The operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, is a classic work by Gilbert and Sullivan, a work that continues to be produced frequently despite its Victorian setting and operatic style. For many years the standard performance style of all the operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan was upheld by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, who attempted to perform the operettas as they had originally been done. Though the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company helped stimulate interest in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, nontraditional productions of G & S operettas produced outside of the company were able to reach larger audiences. When The Pirates of Penzance was produced on Broadway in the 1980's, it was enormously successful. Under the direction of Wilford Leach, the production was more accessible to audiences through its pop-oriented orchestrations, Broadway-style choreography, and cast of rock stars and well-known actors. This significant change in the way The Pirates of Penzance was performed inspired several other major productions of the operetta in that style and has now become the standard interpretation of the piece. It is due to these productions that The Pirates of Penzance continues to be produced and remain culturally relevant. It is interesting to note that, while the performance style of Pirates has changed significantly over the years, the role of Mabel has remained largely unchanged. In that regard, the role of Mabel continues to fulfill the goals and tradition of D'Oyly Carte while The Pirates of Penzance has evolved from an old-fashioned operetta to a popular musical theatre piece.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Winstead, Julia, "Food For Joyous Laughter: Contemporary Productions Of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 3414.