Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Pirates of Penzance

New York City Opera has always been prided for their striking new productions of musical theatre and opera chesnuts. So imagine my surprise when they open their spring season with a conventional and bland production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. The uninspired cardboard sets scream community theatre, and the choreography is like everything you've ever seen before. Some positive performances improve the evening: Marc Kudisch truly is a glorious Pirate King; Myrna Paris' Ruth is delectable and hilarious; and Mark Jacoby is brilliant as the befuddled Major General. However, the two most crucial roles are painfully miscast, with Matt Morgan mistakenly underperforming Frederic and Sarah Jane McMahon rushing through Mabel's big aria, "Poor Wandering One," as if she had a train to catch. Take my advice: stay home and rent the vastly superior Shakespeare in the Park production.

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