‘Pirates of Penzance’ sets sail for Woodstock Nov. 4-20

Woodstock Opera House is at 121 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock, Ill.

Online Staff Report

Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance, will soon be sailing into Woodstock, thanks to the next production from McHenry County’s oldest community theater group, TownSquare Players (TSP).

Director Roger Zawacki, Music Director Betsy Stemple and Orchestra Conductor Cody Halberstadt are shepherding the production, which will be staged at the Woodstock Opera House Nov. 4-20. Stemple and Char Ulanowski are co-producing the show.

The story involves a variety of characters, including: Frederic, a young man reaching the end of his long apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates; Ruth, the nursery maid who stayed by his side; the Pirate King and other shipmates; Mabel, the young woman who wins Frederic’s heart; Mabel’s father, the “very model of a modern Major-General”; the Major-General’s other daughters; and the police.

Comedy, romance, wit, plot twists and pirates are all an integral part of one of the all-time favorite shows by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, and it’s a show that has entertained countless audiences since its official premiere in New York City on New Year’s Eve 132 years ago.

Performances will be Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., Nov. 4-20. To purchase tickets, go to www.woodstockoperahouse.com, call the Woodstock Opera House box office at (815) 338-5300, or stop in during normal box office hours at 121 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock, Ill.

Dress Like a Pirate’ contest

To allow audience members to get in the spirit of Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance, TSP has designated opening night of its Woodstock Opera House production to be “Dress Like a Pirate Night.”

Friday, Nov. 4, all audience members who attend are invited to voluntarily wear their best pirate costume to the 8 p.m. show. Near the end of intermission, those in pirate attire will be directed to the front of the stage, where audience members will vote with their loudest pirate voices — specifically, “Arrrrr!” — for the best-dressed “Pirate King” (or “Pirate Queen”). The first-place winner will receive a certificate good for two admissions to all four of next summer’s Starlight Theatre musical productions at Rockford’s Rock Valley College.

TSP President Paul Lockwood said that — to prevent “arrrr-guments” — the artistic director of the show, “Jolly” Roger Zawacki, will help make the final decision on which “pirate” receives the most audience support.

Lockwood said that while audience members can attend in regular clothing, he hopes a significant number of attendees will don a costume that evening.

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