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February 28, 2013
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'Pirates of Penzance' survives the test of time

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Music and vocal performance professor Jack Delmore said "The Pirates of Penzance" cast is one of the strongest casts he has ever worked with during his 21 years of teaching at Colorado Mesa University."They're extraordinary; very talented students," said Delmore, who will direct the comedic operetta by librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. "They can sing, dance, act. They move really well."Gilbert and Sullivan's classic musical will be performed at Colorado Mesa University's Robinson Theatre March 1-3 and March 6-9."The Pirates of Penzance" is a comedic operetta about "tender-hearted pirates, reluctant policemen, earnest lovers and an eccentric major general, all of whom are ridiculously bound by the dictates of duty," according to a CMU news release."It's just funny, from top to bottom," music director Jeremy Franklin said. "It is a musical and comedic treat."The story is about a young man named Frederic, who just turned 21, and is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. But then he learns that because he's born on Feb. 29 (leap year) he must serve anther 63 years to fulfill his indentured service. His only solace is that Mabel, with whom he is in love, agrees to wait for him. While there is some dialog, the musical is mostly sung, Franklin said. "It's one of the best-sounding casts I've worked with in a long time," he said. And, "the orchestra is top-notch."Conducted by Carlos Elias, the live orchestra is comprised of instrumental music majors, most of whom are involved with the CMU Symphony and Wind Symphony ensembles. The show is designed by David Cox and choreographed by Ann Sanders.The university's theatre arts department collaborates with the school's music department every four years to produce a major operatic work. The last time the college produced "The Pirates of Penzance" was in 1994; it was the first show directed by Delmore after joining the faculty the year before.The comic opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City Dec. 31, 1879. Its London debut was in April 1880. The musical is one of the most popular and enduring works of musical theatre.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 28, 2013 03:39PM Published Feb 28, 2013 03:06PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.