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WKU to present ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ March 1-3 at Van Meter

The Pirates of Penzance, a swashbuckling adventure for the entire family, returns to WKU’s Van Meter Hall March 1-3.

Pirates of Penzance posterThe show is a joint production of the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Music and will feature many students from both departments on the stage, behind the scenes and in the orchestra.

The Pirates of Penzance is directed by Dr. Bill Leonard, professor of Theatre. The production is a homecoming of sorts for Dr. Leonard who directed the show the last time it was performed at WKU in 1998.

The Pirates of Penzance was one of the last full shows to be performed in Van Meter Auditorium prior to its multimillion-dollar renovation as a performance space. “I am looking forward to revisiting Pirates and, of course, directing a production for the stage at Van Meter,” Dr. Leonard said.

“As an audience member, I have enjoyed the Savoy operas of Gilbert and Sullivan in productions I have seen in Canada, England and the USA,” Dr. Leonard said. “Early in my career, I was fortunate to have been a performer in productions of HMS Pinafore and The Mikado.”

The plot of The Pirates of Penzance centers on the novice pirate Frederic (played by John Logan Wood, a senior from Princeton). Frederic meets the beautiful Mabel (played by Jessie Boeglin, a senior from Bowling Green) just as he is completing his pirate apprenticeship. As it does in most shows, meeting a pretty girl complicates everything and the plot humorously twists and turns on its way to a happy conclusion.

“Fun, exciting and challenging always come to mind when programming Pirates,” said Dr. Wayne Pope, music director for the show and associate professor of Voice at WKU. “In choosing an opera, we try to find something that is accessible, yet challenging for our students. The Pirates of Penzance squarely fits that bill with fun patter songs, comic and dramatic turns and engaging ensembles. The audience is going to love it.”

Boeglin said playing the role of Mabel “presents a challenging vocal part and I look forward to growing as a singer through this role. I am thrilled to perform alongside some of my closest friends to create the topsy-turvy world for The Pirates of Penzance.”

Performance times are 8 p.m. March 1 and 2 and 3 p.m. March 3. Admission is $18 for adults and $15 for students. Buy tickets online at wku.showare.com or call the box office at (270) 745-3121 for advance tickets.

The Pirates of Penzance cast includes the following: Nic Baynum, a junior  from Florence; Caitlin Belcher, a sophomore from Bowling Green; Eric Bigler, a junior from Bowling Green; Jessica Boeglin, a senior from Bowling Green; Joe Carter, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn.; Cody Clifton, a senior from Carrollton; Emily Curtis, a sophomore from Georgetown; Taylor Dant, a freshman from Louisville; Lauren French, a junior from Louisville; Lauren Ganote, a junior from Crestwood; Meaghan Heit, a junior from Louisville; Sarah Caitlin Hall, a sophomore from Dawson Springs; Sean Jacobson, a freshman from Louisville; Gavin Knies, a freshman from Lexington; William Linder, a sophomore from Louisville; Ben Luna, a sophomore from Bowling Green; Megan Magistrelli, a freshman from Fort Wright; Andrew Mertz, a senior from Louisville; Ian Meyer, a senior from Louisville; Tristen Milburn, a sophomore from Shelbyville; Molly Nance, a senior from Bowling Green; Dom Piedmonte, a sophomore from Goshen; Oliver Pierce, a junior from Greenville; Will Pope, a senior from Bowling Green; Caleb Pless, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn.; Christen Profancik, a sophomore from Crestwood; J. Morgan Shaffo, a junior from Louisville; Grant Shepherd, a freshman from Santa Claus, Ind.; Madeline Glenn Thomas, a junior from Nashville, Tenn.; Rachel Weaver, a junior from Louisville; John Logan Wood, a senior from Princeton.

About the department: More than 15,000 people were entertained by the WKU Department of Theatre and Dance last year. The department presents more than 20 productions every year including four Mainstage theatre productions, two Mainstage dance concerts, three student-choreographed dance concerts, a Children’s Theatre Series, a Studio Series of student-directed works, a Before Broadway Series featuring a staged reading of a new musical, and a Next Stage Series of showcases and works in progress. More information about the WKU Department of Theatre and Dance can be found at www.wku.edu/theatre-and-dance or by calling the department at (270) 745-5845.

Contact: Julie Pride, (270) 779-2560.

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