Starting Friday, March 2 Narrows Community Theater (NCT) will present “The Pirates of Penzance” in concert to Bay Ridge audiences at St. Patrick’s Catholic Academy.
This time around, NCT will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers and an eccentric major-general. The story centers around young Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to an ineffectual but raucous band of pirates.
The show’s director, Justin Ward Weber, is excited to bring this adaptation to local theater.
“’Pirates of Penzance’ was one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s early successes first performed in New York City in 1879, a year after their previous and popular show ‘H.M.S. Pinafore,’” he said. “Pirates’ was a big hit from the time it was first performed and has maintained its comedic status for over 100 years. I believe wholeheartedly this is what makes it a great choice to be performed again. Its host of colorful characters, winding plot, and catchy and memorable tunes are the recipe for a show that begs audience members to see it again and again.”
Weber believes that the charm of the show is its wit and humor.
“As a predecessor to the modern musical, ‘Pirates’ parodies the overly dramatic operatic conventions of the 19th century,” he said. “Large musical gestures often mock the triviality of the character’s words and actions, like in the finale of Act One.”
As for the highlights, “There are too many to count, but if I had to name a few favorites, I can’t wait for our audience members to see moments like the finales of each act where all of the cast and band are woven together in a tapestry of challenging musical figures, and many comedic scenes that continue to build towards the end,” said Weber. “I know for sure everyone will enjoy the moments with our sergeant and his police, but I won’t spoil the surprises so you’ll just have to see for yourself to find out.”
Thus far, Weber has had a wonderful time working with the cast.
“Not only are they smart and quick learners, making rehearsals a breeze, but they are also daring actors ready to dive into their material,” he explained. “They are most certainly not afraid to get a little silly. Learning the music is obviously a large undertaking, but the special contributions they make to that music through the way they perform the material and characters is really the icing on the cake. I’m sure the audience will see that right from the beginning.”
Although there won’t be many sets and costumes, expect the performances to carry the show.
“Our semi-staged show gives us a lot of room for making a lot with a little,” Weber said. “There will be many surprises to be had that involve some staging and movement, as well as a few choice hats here and there. Our imaginations will help us out with the rest.”
Providing high quality local theater has always been a goal for NCT. Thanks to homegrown talent, they have accomplished just that over the years and Bay Ridge is in for another high quality production, said Weber.
“The community here is strong and carries a lot of members that are excellent at what they do on stage, but it also brings those within and outside of the community who are totally new to this, or who wish to learn and grow in theater and in the arts,” he said. “In this environment, these two groups join together and complement each other in such a special way.
“By working together and growing together, they create something on stage that’s even more special than what you expect when they first start,” Weber went on. “It blossoms into something that’s completely new and different every single time, and I think that this occurrence is important not just to Bay Ridge but to neighborhoods all across Brooklyn and the country. It’s the real joy and beauty of local, community theater.”
“The Pirates of Penzance” premieres Friday, March 2 at 8 p.m. at St. Patrick’s School Auditorium, 401 97th Street. Additional shows will take place Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m., Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students under 21. Children under 12 get in for $15. For more information, visit www.ncttheaterny.com.