The classic comedic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” is coming to Hillsdale this weekend. Hillsdale College students have been busy preparing all fall for this semester’s Opera Workshop production.
The effort is entirely student-driven, with senior music major Jonathan Henreckson directing the performance for his senior project.
“I thought this was a really good opportunity for people to do Pirates of Penzance,” Henreckson said. “It’s always been my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan show, and I just wanted other people to have a chance to be involved.”
The show has three performances this weekend, beginning on Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m., at McNamara Rehearsal Hall in the Howard Music Hall. Performances are also Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. Ticket reservations can be made by contacting the Sage Box Office either by phone or email.
Henreckson, along with assistant director senior Elena Creed, are in charge of organizing the set, costumes, lighting, and staging, in addition to directing.
“We wanted to keep the time commitment to a minimum,” Creed said. “Being able to fit rehearsal for a full-length show into less time has been a challenge.”
Creed, a theater major, said a typical theater production involves 15 hours of rehearsal per week, whereas opera workshop has rehearsed only six hours per week.
Opera Workshop allows students who may not be involved in acting to get an experience on the stage.
“It offers a different perspective from plays,” junior Katie Buursma, a chorus member, said. “It allows people besides the theater department to be involved in a production.”
Junior Miles Garn plays the part of Frederic, the play’s male protagonist. Freshman Julia Salloum plays Mabel, the female protagonist. Juniors Emily Walker and Thomas Ryskamp are accompanying the entire show on the piano.
“I really love getting to work with the cast,” Henreckson said. “As it went on, working with freshmen, sophomores, seniors, it’s been really fun getting to know people and getting them to shine on the stage.
Henreckson encouraged students to come to one or more of the performances, promising it won’t disappoint.
“The show is so enjoyable. It has humor, it has sorrow, it has pirates, it has policemen,” Henreckson said. “You get to see a bunch of young actors shine on the stage and see how far they’ve come. You’ll go away, without a doubt, humming, whistling, and singing the tunes.”