Cast:  H.M.S. Pinafore



Hazen Markoe as The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter First Lord of the Admiralty
Michael Dufault as Captain Corcoran Commanding H.M.S. Pinafore
Brandyn Tapio as Ralph Rackstraw Able Seaman
Grant Hooyer as Dick Deadeye  Able Seaman
Joe Allen as Bill Bobstay Boatswain’s Mate
Anna Maher as Josephine the Captain’s Daughter
Mary Palazzolo as Hebe Sir Joseph’s First Cousin
Mari Holst as Mrs. Cripps Little Buttercup – a Portsmouth Bumboat Woman

First Lord’s sisters, his Cousins, his Aunts, Sailors, Marines, etc.

Claire Frederick, Maria Gisselquist, Jody Halling, Emily Hensley, Anissa Lubbers, Jaclyn Mack, Tammara Melloy, Josie Michalk, Jacob Berggren, Jeff Erickson, Sean Jager, Jeremy Johnson, Tommy McCarthy, Lars Nisswandt, and Eric Sorum.



“H. M. S. Pinafore” premiered May 25th, 1878 and ran for 578 performances which was the second longest run of a show in recorded European history. It caught on very rapidly in the United States and before the British producers and Gilbert and Sullivan could put up a production here, everyone began to produce their own versions of the work since there were no international copyright laws that would cover the authors. Within the first 2 years of its existence there were 150 unauthorized productions in the United States. In one five block area of New York City alone 8 productions played simultaneously. Producers took all sorts of liberties with the show creating their own versions. It was tremendously successful. In order to avoid this same problem the next time around, Gilbert and Sullivan premiered “Pirates of Penzance” in the United States.

Gilbert wrote and directed all of their shows and based many of his characters on characters he had already dreamed up in his very popular comic poetry that he wrote under the his childhood nickname Bab. Eventually all of these poems were collected into a book that he also illustrated called “Bab’s Ballads”.

I love Gilbert and Sullivan. So much of what they have done informed the development of the American Musical Theater and the music is tuneful and delightful and the lyrics clever and humorous. I think what I like most about their work and “HMS Pinafore” in particular is the way they find to dole out well-deserved parody without being vicious. It also makes fun of British culture and society in a way that makes you laugh at it and love it at the same time which is a very delicate balancing act.

In “Pinafore” the question of merit and position are front and center. The character Sir Joseph was based on W. H. Smith, the actual First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, who worked his way into this position without having any military or nautical experience. There are many characters in the show who through an accident of birth or circumstance end up in a position they don’t deserve to be in which really pokes fun at the British Idea of class and power and what makes someone important. Sir Joseph can be very high-minded when it suits his situation but hypocritically does an about face when his ideas are applied in a way that doesn’t suit him. By the end of the evening it is clear that love and merit should trump class and position when it comes to what is important in life.