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Laughs, thrills and nautical fun to be had at Lyric Opera Theatre's production of "H.M.S Pinafore"

Students at ASU's School of Music perform at a dress rehearsal for Lyric Opera Theatre's production of "H.M.S Pinafore" on Sept. 27, 2016. 

Students at ASU's School of Music perform at a dress rehearsal for Lyric Opera Theatre's production of "H.M.S Pinafore" on Sept. 27, 2016. 

The Lyric Opera Theatre program at ASU’s School of Music will be presenting the Gilbert and Sullivan classic “H.M.S Pinafore” Thursday evening to commence its 53rd season. Performed and organized by talented students and faculty, the long-beloved comic opera satirizes the social classes of the Victorian era while offering nautically themed fun and laughter.

Music director Brian DeMaris said Gilbert and Sullivan works are “right in the middle” between opera and musical theater, offering a perfect introduction to world of stage musicals.

“They’re in a sense light, comic and fun operas, but they’re also light, comic, fun musicals of the original kind,” he said. “A lot of American musical theater as we know it today was inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan.”

“H.M.S Pinafore” tells the story of a low-class sailor determined to win the heart of the captain’s daughter, despite the fact that the captain intends to marry her off to an admiral.

DeMaris said the cast and crew worked to maintain the elements that have made Gilbert and Sullivan operettas popular for over a century.

“It involves all of the traditional Gilbert and Sullivan motifs that are in all of their operas,” he said. We have our guys in their sailor uniforms and the ladies with their dresses and umbrellas, and all the little trends and traditions that have become popular in all of the Gilbert and Sullivan shows are rendered at some point into this.”

ASU sophomore Erin Kong, who is part of show’s vocal ensemble, said “H.M.S Pinafore" retains its cultural relevancy as well as its accessibility compared to other operas.

"For those who may be intimidated by operas, 'H.M.S. Pinafore' is in English, and relatively easy to comprehend,” she said. “For those who want to escape reality for a few hours, 'H.M.S Pinafore' is the perfect remedy.”

Technical director senior Alfredo Esarcega said the show will involve plenty of comedy and slapstick, along with exceptional vocal performances by ASU students.

“The vocal talents are mind-blowing,” he said. “They’re really good. They’re professional quality in my opinion.”

Escarcega said Lyric Opera Theatre’s production of “H.M.S Pinafore” will emphasize more of the comedic side of musical theater compared to past productions.

"(Stage director Dale Dreyfoos) is a very funny guy. He brings a lot of almost-slapstick humor to it that I don’t think other companies would dare do,” he said. “There is a flying rubber chicken in the show. I don’t think any other theater company would do that, but we did.”

“H.M.S Pinafore” will be performed at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre on ASU’s Tempe campus from Thursday, Sept. 29 to Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p,m, with a 2 p.m performance on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Tickets for students are $8, and are available through the School of Music’s box office.

Editor's note: Erin Kong was a former writer for The State Press.

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