Pour the pirate sherry and drink to duty, queen and the very model of modern major general at Northern Arizona University’s Lyric Theater’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance.”
The troupe is performing Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta from Oct. 12 through the 15th at NAU’s Ardrey Auditorium but with a very modern twist.
“We’ve set it in the 1960s. It’s definitely different from anything you’ve seen before,” says Lyric Theater Director Eric Gibson, in a press release. “We don’t do anything to alter the script or the meaning of the show, but the updates to the look and the feel of it are hilarious.”
The musical stars Frederic, who thinks his apprenticeship as a pirate is about to end. Fredrick falls in love but finds that duty binds him to the pirates for a spell longer. But instead of Queen Victorian furniture and fixtures, the sets look like something out of the “Brady Bunch” with shag carpet, plastic rolling chairs, an old TV and a bar. The costumes include pirates in tuxedos and sunglasses missing one lens.
The original idea to set the musical in the 1960s comes from a production that premiered in Fargo, North Dakota, Gibson said. The sets and costumes in NAU’s version of the musical come from that production.
“We wanted to do something a little different,” Gibson said. “So we brought it here.”
It brings a bit more fun to the musical, which already has got a lot of bounce and vigor to its lyrics, he said.
The Pirates of Penzance is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, 13 and 14, with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, in Ardrey Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are on sale at the NAU Central Ticket Office in the University Union, by phone at 928-523-5661 and online at nau.edu/cto. A community parking pass is available for the Thursday performance at nau.edu/guest.