Sunday, March 01, 2009

Putting the Swash in Your Buckle, 'The Pirates of Penzance'


The Touhill Performing Arts Center March 13

Famed New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players return for one-night only!

ST. LOUIS (February 17, 2009) – One of the most-loved, and certainly one of the funniest, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas of all time, The Pirates of Penzance comes to the Touhill for one-night only, presented by the renowned G&S aficionados, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. The Pirates of Penzance will be performed in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50, $40, and $30 and are available now by calling 314.516.4949, or at www.touhill.org. Sponsored by Emerson, RAC and welcomed by KWMU.

The legendary composing duo’s comic masterpiece The Pirates of Penzance is as popular today as it was in 1879 at its New York debut. The light opera’s century-plus endurance is no doubt due to W.S. Gilbert’s brilliantly witty libretto and Arthur Sullivan’s charming melodies.

Presented in two acts and set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, England, The Pirates of Penzance (Or The Slave of Duty) centers on the dilemma of young Frederic who, as a child, was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his twenty first birthday. Helping Frederic to deal with this unusual predicament are his band of tenderhearted pirates, the brash Pirate King, Ruth - the pirate maid-of-all-work, romantic Mabel, and the delightfully stuffy Major-General Stanley.

The Pirates of Penzance will be presented at the Touhill by the famed New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, known for their dynamic blend of contemporary vitality and traditional respect for its specialized repertory. Now in its fourth decade of operation, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (NYGASP) is America’s preeminent professional Gilbert & Sullivan repertory ensemble. Under the dynamic leadership of Artistic Director Albert Bergeret, who has been hailed as “the leading custodian of the G&S classics” by New York magazine, NYGASP has created its own special niche in the cultural mosaic of New York City and the nation. Since its founding in 1974, the company has presented over 2,000 performances of the G&S masterpieces throughout the United States and Canada, captivating audiences of all ages. NYGASP return to the Touhill following their well received 2005 performance of H.M.S. Pinafore.

The Touhill is pleased to offer the E3! program in conjunction with The Pirates of Penzance. The new E3! program, Explore – Experience – Engage, offers the occasion for patrons to delve further into the artistic realm and deepen appreciation of the performance. Stella Markou, Director of Vocal Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at UMSL, will lend her extensive knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for opera as program moderator. After Markou’s pre-show lecture, patrons view the opera during the Experience portion. Then they can Engage with other audience members during a reception, enjoying food and drink while sharing their take on what they just experienced. Tickets for the E3! program are just an additional $5.

Next up at the Touhill is Discover Beethoven with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. followed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra on Sunday, March 22 at 2 p.m.

The Pirates of Penzance is Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50, $40, and $30, and are available now at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online at www.touhill.org; or by phone at 314.516.4949; and toll-free at 866.516.4949. The Touhill’s Ticket Office is located at One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. All St. Louis area students receive a 10% discount on two tickets with their I.D. Group and senior discounts are also available.

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on the north campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, just 10 minutes from Clayton. (Exit # 240 from I-70). There is ample free parking and the UMSL North Campus MetroLink Station is just steps from the Touhill’s Main Entrance.

Now in its sixth season of presenting the finest in the performing arts to the St. Louis region, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center opened its doors in September 2003. The $52 million facility designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, features the 1,625-seat Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall and the 350-seat E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater. The not-for-profit Center is the jewel of the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus and is the first impetus and focal point for creating an arts district for students at the University.

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