Note: Fill out the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this review to enter for a chance to win a Family Four-Pack of Tickets to “The Pirates of Penzance” Family Night on Aug. 9. All entries must be in by Thursday, Aug. 4, 11:59 EST and winners will be announced Friday, Aug. 5, form below. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Good luck and … “May the odds be ever in your favor.” SORRY DUE TO A TECHNICAL GLITCH THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. WINNERS ARE ANNOUNCED BELOW.
“The Pirates of Penzance” has opened at Barrington Stage Company, and I’d definitely call this a smash-hit for the whole family! Recommended for ages 10 and up, kids will enjoy the whimsical action in this musical classic and parents will enjoy the standard of excellence uniformly presented by BSC in their annual mainstage musical.
The men and women in this production are swoon-worthy and remarkably talented. The cartoon set is straight out of a Dr. Seuss book and the costuming is delightful and appropriate for Gilbert & Sulllivan’s beloved operetta about duty, love, pirates and policemen. Both the young male lead Kyle Dean Massey (just appeared on Broadway as Pippin and is in several TV shows including Nashville and Hart of Dixie) and the dashing Pirate King Will Swenson (from Broadway, Film and TV) are just absolutely a treat in all the right ways. These men are handsome and beyond talented. The ability to be both strapping and silly is a commanding thing and both of these men are quite commanding – I, for one, was swooning for the entire two hours and fifteen minutes. Philip Boykin is also impressive in the role of Samuel and is able to take full command of my attention anytime he delivers a solo line.
The women are gorgeous especially Scarlett Strallen in the lead role of Mabel. Her stage presence is divine. From the moment of her first entrance, I was enthralled by her energy. It’s not surprising to me that she has played Mary Poppins in London’s West End and on Broadway. This woman has so much presence and is entirely interesting. Lindsay O’Neil and Jacqueline Petroccia are particularly delightful as Edith and Kate. The chorus of sisters also featured a set of stunning twins Alanna and Claire Saunders who you will recognize because Alanna plays Tiger Lily in NBC’s recent broadcast of “Peter Pan Live.”
Also, must-mentions are Jane Carr in the matronly lead role and David Garrison as the Modern Major General. Jane Carr felt familiar to me and upon further research discovered she is quite famous and many of your family members will recognize her from her career in television. This is always a treat! David Garrison is a familiar face to both stage and screen as well. For me personally, I recognize him as Steve from TV’s “Married with Children”.
“Pirates” is so funny that the opening night audience would not stop laughing. The laughter was nonstop and at times borderline ridiculous. This show breaks the magical fourth wall especially when interacting with the eight audience members lucky enough to get seats up on the stage (kids must be 12 or older to sit on stage). And, this only adds to the beautiful hilarity. I found one chorister, Eric Stretch, to be particularly hilarious. His antics were delightful! His were some of my favorite moments.
Other favorite moments include anytime Scarlett Strallen bats her eyes or sings, especially my most favorite number of the evening, the haunting “Sorry Her Lot.” To take this show to this haunting depth from such silly whimsy is pure magic. Yet, the top moments for me included the pitter-patter of the Pirate King. All I can say is: WOW! I mean, I was blown-away – in this moment he steals the show. And also, anytime the full chorus sings … this ensemble is glorious! To be witness to this is divine.
I took my 11-year-old daughter with me to opening night. She was enthralled the entire time! I asked her to write-up her own review and this is what she had to say: “‘The Pirates of Penzance ‘was a very good play. I think that everybody in the play did a very good job playing their part, and many were possibly so good, that they could actually be an old-fashioned maiden, a pirate, a general, or a police officer. jess Goldstein did an amazing job a designing the costumes, they looked so realistic! The pirate ship actually looked and felt like a pirate ship. I give this play five out of five stars.”
Barrington Stage has taken a beloved operetta, set it upon a cartoon and cast it with energetic stars. It’s sheer delight for adults and children alike. Almost everyone involved with this show has been on Broadway. This is the best of the best. And, I would say this is the most family-friendly musical this mainstage has seen in years – a must see for families who live in and travel to the Berkshires.
Congratulations to Barrington Stage Company and the Rando-Cohen-Bergasse trio on another sensation. You are defining and setting the bar at a whole new upper level and I cant wait to see what you do next!
“The Pirates of Penzance” plays on the Barrington Stage Company’s Mainstage at 30 Union St., in Pittsfield through Aug. 13, with its Tuesday Night Family Nights (sponsored by Berkshire Family Focus) kicking off tonight and running Aug. 2 and 9, too. For tickets and details go online to barringtonstage.org.