Alhambra Actors to Join Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for "The Pirates of Penzance" | Arts & Culture

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Alhambra Actors to Join Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for "The Pirates of Penzance"

Actors from the nation’s longest running professional dinner theatre will take the stage with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for a special production of The Pirates of Penzance, set to invade Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts on October 1-3. Conducted by Michael Butterman, a stellar cast from the new Alhambra Theatre & Dining under the direction of Tod Booth will sing and dance to live music by the Jacksonville Symphony in one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s wittiest comic operettas.  Performances are Friday and Saturday, October 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 3 at 3 p.m. Information and tickets are available through the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Box Office at (904) 354-5547 or online at Ticket prices are $26, $31, $41, $56 and $66

An ensemble of 20 actors and singers are featured in this semi-staged production (actors and sets downstage, orchestra upstage). Among those are six Alhambra Theatre veterans, including Tony Triano as Major-General Stanley, Kelly Atkins as Mabel, Millicent Sylvester as Ruth, Roy Johns as The Pirate King and Ken Uibel as Sergeant of Police. Highly acclaimed New York operatic tenor Matt Morgan will play the lead role of Frederick.

“It is wonderful to see our musical theatre professionals in operatic roles and demonstrating their versatility,” said Alhambra Director and Producer Tod Booth. He added, “This talent combined with the Jacksonville Symphony will be a treat for Jacksonville. The Pirates of Penzance is a funny and exciting show with a tremendous operetta score. It will appeal to both the symphony enthusiast as well as fans of musical theater. This change of pace for me is very challenging and exciting.”

"’Pirates’ has everything,” adds Jacksonville Symphony Resident Conductor Michael Butterman. “It’s got great characters, witty dialogue, memorable tunes and just enough plot twists to keep you guessing.”

This is the fourth Jacksonville Symphony and Alhambra production. Created for the enjoyment of Jacksonville residents, the partnership has proven to be innovative and entertaining. “The Jacksonville Symphony is one of the most versatile orchestras in the country, and our community has responded enthusiastically to these theatrical collaborations,” said Butterman. “Live musical theatre backed on stage by a full symphony orchestra is pure delight for the eyes and ears. It’s something you won’t experience anywhere else in North Florida,” he added.

Along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance is one of the most frequently played Gilbert and Sullivan operas and has proven adaptable over the years. In 1981, a century after its New York premiere, it was staged on Broadway by Joseph Papp in a freewheeling, untraditional manner, with Rex Smith and Linda Ronstadt in the romantic leads, Kevin Kline as the Pirate King and George Rose as the Major General. A motion picture adaptation soon followed. Gilbert & Sullivan fans will thankfully welcome this live musical theater production, backed on stage by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in an acoustically brilliant concert hall atmosphere.

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