The Pirates of Penzance by the Lamplighters is a rollicking fun evening.

Lamplighters Music Theatre presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s: The Pirates of Penzance (Musical Operetta) Lyrics by William S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan. Stage Director Jane Erwin Hammett, Music Director/Conductor Baker Peeples. Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts, Moscone Center, San Francisco (August 14-17) Bankhead Theatre, Livermore (August 23-24), 2014

The Pirates of Penzance by the Lamplighters is a rollicking fun evening.

 Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5 Stars)

It is difficult to write a specific review about a Lamplighters production since the major roles are mostly double-cast and there is no advance notification of who will play what role on any given night. Last night, with a minor caveat here and there, the chosen cast created a rollicking fun evening that will have you humming the music and lyrics for days and nights.

The stated mission of Lamplighters Music Theatre is to share their “enthusiasm and love for the works of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan through productions of their comic operas and of other works of comparable wit, literacy and musical merit.” Their productions have lavish costumes and sets, live orchestra, excellent comic acting, and gorgeous unamplified singing.  Just so you do not possibly miss the tricky lyrics they also provide super titles.

The Bay Area is fortunate that this group rotates each show through various venues. The Yerba Buena venue is their third stop and the show has nary a hitch with an enthusiastic ensemble, humorous lines, gorgeous costumes and rich voices.

Swaggering booming voiced baritone Ben Brady as the Pirate King thoroughly controls his eclectic band of (loveable?) ruffians with authority. Young handsome Robin Vann as Frederic is an impressive tenor making him attractive to the ladies including the “aging Ruth (Sonia Gariaeff) who accidentally apprenticed him into a Pirates life. You see, she confused “pilot” for “pirate.”  

 The plot gets sillier and sillier but never fear all turns out well when the Major-General Stanley’s (F. Lawrence Ewing) daughters (all 20 of them???) turn up in the Pirates lair. The most beautiful is Mabel (Elena Galvin) and love blooms. Galvin has a marvelous contralto voice that is crystal clear with a vibrato to die for.

The one caveat is that Ewing falters in the pivotal patter song “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.” To his credit he has spot-on comic timing earning him many laughs throughout the evening. There are laughs galore from the every facet of the show. The basic choreography by ladies, pirates and Keystone Kops (I did tell you about them?) are a hoot and a holler. Recommendation: Do not miss. You still have a chance if you go to Livermore. Running time 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission.

CAST: (Cast for last night’s show are in italicized bold) SAMUEL, The pirate lieutenant, Chris Uzelac ; THE PIRATE KING Ben Brady or Charles Martin; FREDERIC, The pirate apprentice, Samuel Faustine or Robert Van; RUTH, Pirate-maid-of-all-work, Sonia Gariaeff or Deborah Rosengaus; Major-General Stanley’s daughters EDITH, Ellen Leslie or Michele Schroeder; KATE, Susanna Ketron or Talia Trozzo, ISABEL, Lindsey Rae Johnson; MABEL, Elena Galvin, Kaia Richards; MAJOR-GENERAL STANLEY, F. Lawrence Ewing; BUTLER, John Rouse; SERGEANT OF POLICE ,  Steve Goodman or Robby Stafford

CHORUS:Adeliz Araiza, George Ashworth, Amanda Renee Baines, Simon Banaag, Jeffrey Beaudoin, Kelly Brodie, Melissa Butcher, Nicholas Dahlman, Giovanni de Leon, Robert Dorsett, George Fernandez, Drew Green, Beth Guido, Andrew Gustafson, Hilary Hecht, Don Kemp, William Loney (u/s Samuel), Douglas Mandell, Daniel G. Norberg, Timothy Pickett, Rich Pryor, Alan Roberts, Corynne Scott, Bobby Singer, Pete Shoemaker, Allison Spencer, Genie Tjahjadi, Hannah Velichko, Sarah Velichko.

ARTISTIC STAFF; Production Manager: Nicolas Aliaga; Technical Director: Zach Sigman; Scenic Design: Peter Crompton; Original Costume Design: Melissa Wortman; Costume Design: Miriam Lewis; Lighting Design: Joey Postil; Make-up Design: David Kirby; Wig & Hair Design: Kerry Rider-Kuhn; Asst. Director/Props: Elizabeth Durst;Asst. Music Director: Jennifer Ashworth; Stage Managers: Jan Brown, Elisabeth Reeves; Costume Assistants: Sonia Hauser, Koledon Lambright; Costume Cutting/Construction: Melinda Hare, Koledon Lambright, Aviva Raskin; Wardrobe: Alexandra Gray; Costume Crew: Willa Anderson, Shelley Johnson, Claire Kelm, Ellen Kerrigan, Judy Macllvaine, Alan Roberts, Sally Shunsky-Hernandez, Melissa Wortman; Make-up Assistant: Joanne Kay; Supertitles Manager: Joseph Giammarco; Supertitles Operators: Judith Epstein, Nancy Benson, Sarah Vardigans; Rehearsal Accompanists: Paul McCurdy, Michael Schuler; Graphic Design: Tim Dunn, Dunn@Dunn Graphic Design, Joanne Kay; Photography: David Allen.

Kedar K. Adour, MD