The Pirates of Penzance(1983)
directed by Wilford Leach
, starring Kevin Kline
, Angela Lansbury
, and Linda Ronstadt
An excellent production of the Gilbert and Sullivan
operetta The Pirates of Penzance or the Slave of Duty
. Written and first performed in the nineteenth century, it is full of both sarcasm
. The actors seem to be aware of their strange habit of breaking into song. Says the Pirate King in surprise to a crewmember as they begin the I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General
song: "It's the same as the Pirate King
I have seen two live productions (Arizona State University
and London Regent's Park Outdoor Theater
) of this operetta--this VHS
production is equal, if not better, in humor, talent, costume and general ridiculousness.
Not your common musical
, and cannot really be grouped with either. Highly recommended.
I should note, however, (thanks to Sondheim for pointing this out) that this VHS production, along with many of the current live productions, is an "updated" version of the original operetta. Its humor is less subtle, some musical numbers are missing (some are added, for that matter), and it is in a different tone from traditional Gilbert and Sullivan
. I think it is an excellent transition for those who are intimidated by the word "operetta" or for children who may not catch the subtle humor in a more traditional version.