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Staff Picks Category: Operetta

The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan []



The movie adaptation of Joseph Papp’s Broadway production has everything: swordfights, love affairs, comedy, and the original brilliant lyrics and music. In updating Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta for a modern (i.e. 1983) audience, Papp cast the multitalented Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline in the leading roles. Ronstadt’s soprano is more than equal to Mabel’s vocal fireworks, and Kline embodies the over-the-top macho swashbuckler with panache. The sets are stylistically reminiscent of the stage rather than attempting realism, preserving the sense of watching a musical in the theater. The incomparable Angela Lansbury is featured as Frederic’s old nursemaid Ruth, and the rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either. A perfect introduction to G & S.

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