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Swashbuckling Pirates Invade Northwestern This Summer

A new adaptation of “The Pirates of Penzance” to be staged by Chicago director

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June 27, 2014 | by Judy Moore
”Pirates of Penzance” is directed and fight choreographed by guest director Matt Hawkins.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Imaginative version of Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera to be staged at Northwestern 
  • The 90-minute production will be directed by The House Theatre’s Matt Hawkins
  • Modernized adaptation features on-stage antics that the entire family will enjoy 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Pirates of Penzance” -- Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious operetta -- will be staged July 18 through Aug. 2 as the centerpiece of Northwestern University’s summer theater season.

”Pirates of Penzance” will be performed as part of Northwestern University’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts 2014 SummerStage Season. (The center was formerly known as the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University or TIC, for short.)

The new 90-minute modern adaptation is directed and fight choreographed by guest director Matt Hawkins, a founding member of The House Theatre of Chicago.

Performances of “Pirates of Penzance” will be staged at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. They will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, July 18; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20; 8 p.m. Friday, July 25; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1; and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2. The production is recommended for children age eight and older and adults.

The beauty and whimsy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic score is suffused with a modern sensibility, comic timing and top-notch singing performed by a Northwestern University student cast. As funny and as entertaining today as it was when it first opened in 1879, “The Pirates of Penzance” spins a farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters and an eccentric Major-General, all morally bound to the often absurd dictates of honor and duty.  

“This will be a streamlined operetta that will focus on a highly imaginative and fun world where the actors and musicians are the focus of the storytelling and the show can be anything we want it to be,” says director and fight choreographer Hawkins. “There will be lots of sword fighting and audience engagement in a playful experience that blends the Victorian era within the modern age unlike anything the audience has ever experienced at Northwestern.”

Tickets for the Wirtz Center’s “Pirates of Penzance” are $30 for general public; $27 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more. 

For more information, or to order tickets, phone (847) 491-7282, visit the Wirtz Center website or email wirtz@northwestern.edu.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT

A three-year construction project under way on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit TIC for more information. 

Topics: Campus Life, Neighborhood