The ambitious Maricopa High School Theatre Company took on the challenge of classic comedy with their rendition of Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1879 comedic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” in November.
That is just the start of a challenging if stimulating season for the troupe. Students are not just learning lines and showing off singing voices. They are living up to their title as a theater company and not a basic drama club. That means learning stagecraft and all aspects of putting on a show.
“Students were tasked to put together this entire production – music, acting, costumes, sets, props, choreography, light and sound design, and more – within only two months,” co-director and theater/drama teacher Cynthia Calhoun says.
The four-show musical was co-directed by theater tech teacher Kevin Piquette.
With a cast and crew numbering more than 50, the MHS Theatre Company handled “The Pirates of Penzance” in a professional manner. Gilbert & Sullivan’s complicated music and lyrics and demand for precise comic timing were challenges turned into fun.
“Overall, I’m very happy with our production and what we have been able to accomplish within our theater department,” Calhoun says. “This is the first operetta we have performed and is more demanding than a traditional musical or straight play.”
Calhoun says the production was the company’s most financially successful. The proceeds are divided evenly between the theater company and technical theater programs.
“We sold over 550 tickets, and the students earned $2,800 toward future productions,” she says.
“The Philadelphia Story”
Feb. 4-6, 7 p.m.
MHS Lecture Hall[/quote_box_right]
That will include the comedy “The Philadelphia Story” (think Katharine Hepburn) by Philip Barry. It will be performed Feb. 4-6 in the more intimate Maricopa High School Lecture Hall. The spring musical will be the adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic “Les Miserables” in a student edition. It will be staged in April at the MHS Performing Arts Center.
“We’ve already invested our 50 percent into the spring musical,” Calhoun says.
Piquette says the success of “The Pirates of Penzance” raised the bar of expectations for the future productions.
“I am excited for the future of both programs and can’t wait to see what our students can build and perform next,” he says.
This story appeared in the Winter Edition of InMaricopa the Magazine.