‘The Pirates of Penzance’ returns to Van Meter after 15 years

Kristina Burton

A family-friendly adventure will be hitting the high seas on the Van Meter stage this weekend.

“The Pirates of Penzance” is returning to Van Meter Hall March 1-3 for the first time since 1998 when it was last performed there. It was one of the last full shows to be performed there before its renovation.

The show’s director, Bill Leonard, also directed the show in 1998. He, along with the set builder, are the only staff that has worked on both productions.

“This time around we have a different cast with a variety of talent,” the part-time WKU faculty member said. “The show really plays to the strengths of the actors.”

Leonard also said the actors really make the show their own.

“There’s a memory of the past show, but they don’t worry about it when performing this one,” Leonard said. “It has a different look and involvement.”

Leonard said he’d even spoken with some people who saw the show in 1998, and are excited to see it again.

Will Pope, a 21-year-old Bowling Green senior who plays the Pirate King, is excited to start performing the show for an audience.

“It’s an opera, so there are no mics,” Pope said. “I’m excited to fill the space with just my voice.”

Madeline Thomas, a 20-year-old Nashville junior who plays Isabel, one of the Major General’s daughters, said it’s rewarding and interesting to exercise the operatic parts of her voice, which she doesn’t get many opportunities to do.

“In musical theatre, an accompanist follows you,” Thomas said. “In opera, you’re a servant of the conductor and must follow them. Everything you do is directed off that one person.”

Thomas also added that wearing a corset while singing opera has its challenges, too.

“Having to sing opera, act, wear a corset and breathe has been very challenging, but good for me,” Thomas said. “And very hilarious.”

Pope said he hopes for Van Meter Auditorium to be full for the show, which will be his last as a WKU student.

“The show’s a lot of fun,” Pope said. “You’ll be really entertained with voices of the show. Also, after you watch the show, you won’t want to be born on a leap year.”

Thomas said that the show’s plot, humor and culture attract a wide array of people.

“There are damsels in distress, humor, swords, pirates capturing ladies, love and mystery,” Thomas said. “Lots of people of all ages are excited about it.”

Performance times are 8 p.m. March 1 and 2 and 3 p.m. on March 3. Admission is $18 for adults and $15 for students. To purchase tickets in advance, go online to wku.showare.com or call the box office at 270-745-3121.