Heritage Theatre Festival to Open 42nd Year with Gilbert and Sullivan's Classic 'The Pirates of Penzance'

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – June 16, 2016 – The Heritage Theatre Festival’s 2016 season kicks off with one of the world’s most beloved musicals when Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance sails into Culbreth Theatre on June 30.

This high seas masterful, musical adventure tells the story of young Frederic who, on the eve of his 21st birthday, looks forward to breaking the bonds of his indentured servitude only to be foiled by a technicality. His leap year birthday and an overdeveloped sense of duty keep him in the delightfully chaotic employ of a brash yet benevolent band of pirates. It is a tale for all ages, complete with swashbuckling hijinks, clueless cops, frolicking maidens, and a famously bumbling Major-General.

The Pirates of Penzance, libretto by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan, is directed by Heritage’s Interim Artistic Director and UVA Department of Drama Chair Colleen Kelly, and will be presented in the Culbreth Theatre on June 30, July 1-2, and July 7-9 at 7:30pm, and on July 9 at 2pm. Adult tickets for the show are $40.00 if purchased prior to June 30, and $45 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $20.00. Single and season tickets for the 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival season are available at the UVA Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at heritagetheatrefestival.org, or by phone at 434-924-3376.

The production will make Heritage Theatre Festival history, according to Kelly. “In our 42 years, Heritage has never done a Gilbert and Sullivan show.” When Kelly set out to change this, she immediately turned to longtime HTF collaborator and musical director Greg Harris. “Greg is a longtime fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, and one of the reasons I picked this show was that I knew I would be working with him.”

The show was also appealing to Kelly due to her own unique theatre background. “I started as a movement specialist, and so my love is anything that has to do with period styles and dance choreography. I am also a fight choreographer, and there is a lot of swashbuckling here. You really can’t go wrong with pirates, and these happen to be particularly entertaining ones. They are kindhearted, they have sympathy for orphans, and they seek poetry in their lives. It is definitely a show the whole family can enjoy.”

The music is another big draw, both for Kelly and for audiences. “The music in this show is really terrific,” she said. “I love it when the music is not only beautiful, but also includes a wink of humor in it, which this definitely does. As I have said before, this season at Heritage really focuses on the “festival” aspect of our name, and puts fun in the spotlight.”

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will continue with the heart-filled musical comedy Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, opening July 7 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre; the beloved family musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, opening July 23 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre; Neil Simon’s  classic comedy The Odd Couple, opening on July 28 in the Culbreth Theatre; and The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of The Pirates of Penzance is presented by Charlottesville Settlement Company, Ednam Title, Monticello Title, Real Estate III Title, and 1st Dominion Title, and supported by Marotta Wealth Management, alongside our media sponsors CBS 19 and The Daily Progress.

Parking for Heritage Theatre Festival performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/dqfgd74ix3s0m1ochsmbpd612913ytz8

Cutline: Lovely Edith (Amaree Cluff) and Kate (Lauren Elens) try to keep their distance from The Pirate King (Dan Stern) in the Heritage Theatre Festival production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.  Photo by Michael Bailey.

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

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