Ahoy, maties! "Pirates of Penzance" is on the horizon!
Somerset's own semi-professional theater company, Flashback Theater Co. (FbTC), continues its 2018-19 season this summer with "Pirates of Penzance" by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, one of the best-known and well-beloved comic operas of all time.
The show will run June 6-16 in the Black Box Theater at 400 E. Mount Vernon St. in Somerset, Ky. Tickets are now on sale by calling (888) 394-FBTC (3282).
"'Pirates' was one of the precursors to the popular musical format we all love today, and it is referenced all the time in popular culture, much like a cult classic film," said Sommer Schoch is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Flashback Theater.
"For our production of 'Pirates of Penzance,' I wanted to incorporate other cult classics like 'The Princess Bride' and Monty Python as inspiration," she added. "'The Princess Bride' has an element of fantastical storytelling that is similar to 'Pirates,' and Monty Python's comedy is certainly a huge draw for the actors when developing their characters."
Gilbert and Sullivan's hilarious, hopeful farce follows young Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to an ineffectual (but raucous!) band of pirates. He disavows the pirates' way of life and falls for the beautiful Mabel when he sets out on his new life. Frederic's melodious tones win over the heart of Major-General Stanley's songbird daughter, Mabel, but when the Pirate King discovers that General Stanley has lied about being an orphan (to keep the pirates from stealing all of his belongings and carrying off his bevy of beautiful daughters), an "ingenious paradox" may prevent the budding romance and lead to the death of "the very model of a modern Major-General."
"Many people think of Gilbert and Sullivan as kind of stuffy when in fact their work plays well as farce and over the top melodramatic entertainment," said Schoch. "Everyone is going to enjoy this production, no matter your age.
"There's something for everyone," she added. "To misquote 'The Princess Bride,' 'Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, pirates, maidens, chases, true love, miracles! Doesn't sound too bad.'"
At the helm of the production are two well known theater artists in the area. Schoch will be Stage Director and Theresa Jean Kibby joins her as the Music Director. The pair have been carefully guiding the cast through the process of learning music since the beginning of the year, and are eager to begin putting it all together to tell the story.
The principal actors in the cast are Amanda Balltrip, playing Mabel and Alex George, playing Frederic. George has appeared in numerous FbTC productions, including last December's 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly." The talented high school student has grown on the stage over the years, and will make one more local performance before beginning study for her BFA in Acting at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in the fall.
Amanda Balltrip, a trained opera singer at the University of Kentucky and student of late famed soprano Gail Robinson, has also been in several FbTC productions, including "Nightmare on Backstreet" and "The Importance of Being Earnest," and was music director for "Little Shop of Horrors." Balltrip is a faculty member of McNeil Music Center, Governor's School for the Arts, and University of the Cumberlands, and serves as President for Watershed Arts Alliance.
Additional principals include Greg Moore, playing Major General Stanley, and Amber Frangos, playing Ruth. Moore, a local radio personality, has been in many productions with the Somerset Community College (SCC) Theatre Department, but is making his debut with Flashback is in what he calls one of his "bucket list" roles. Frangos is the Resident Playwright at Flashback Theater, penning "Rosies: The Women Who Riveted the Nation," but she also enjoys performing as well and has been in numerous FbTC and SCC roles.
Bradley Gilmore will be playing the deadly Pirate King, as well as some other roles. This will be Bradley Gilmore's second performance on stage with Flashback Theater Co. as an actor, after portraying Bingley in "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley." Born and raised in Somerset, Kentucky, he has played in bands and been involved with music most of his life. Currently, he teaches percussion and guitar at McNeil Music Center.
Chris Harris, who takes on the role of the Police Sergeant and some other parts, is a veteran of the Somerset stage, having appeared in numerous productions for both Somerset Community College and Flashback Theater Company over the years. A reporter for the Commonwealth Journal, Harris is also the writer of the short play "Waiting for Bardot," a 2016 Kentucky New Play Series selection, and is appearing in his third FbTC production.
Filling in many of the ensemble parts are Martha Pratt, Mandy Hieatt, Rick Winstead, Bailey Patterson, Lexie Woodroof and Bella Allison, a strong mix of FbTC veterans in one capacity or another.
Pratt played Anne de Bourgh in "Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley," and has appeared in plays at Somerset Community College in "The Dining Room" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," as well as directing and in shows at Good Neighbors Theatre in Byrdstown, Tenn.
Hieatt returns to Flashback Theater Co. after appearing earlier this season as Daisy in "Boats Against The Current." She is an accomplished musician, participating in several local musical organizations. Mandy owns and operates Mandy Hieatt Services where she provides accounting and tax services, music lessons, and other services.
This is Winstead's first on-stage appearance with Flashback Theater Co. He has been on board as a bassist on multiple occasions with Flashback and McNeil Music Center over the past few years.
Patterson is a junior at Southwestern High School who has long been involved in theatre. She appeared in the Junior Cast of "Rosies: The Women Who Riveted the Nation" with FbTC, as did Allison, a student at Pulaski County High School.
Tickets are $18 for adults in advance, $20 at the door, and $12 for students in advance, $15 at the door, plus applicable taxes and fees.
Box Office Hours for calling for tickets are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Performance dates are: Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 16 at 2:30 p.m.
Flashback Theater is grateful to leading sea- son sponsor, Applied Behavioral Advancements, LLC for their ongoing support. This production is brought to you in partnership with United Cumberland Bank. The following sponsors have made contributions to Pirates of Penzance: Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, McNeil Music Center, WYKY 106.1 FM and WTLO 1480 AM/97.7 FM. Additionally, the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to Flashback Theater Co. with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional season support also comes from Kentucky Tourism, M&W Printing, and Lum- ber King Building Supplies.