‘Pirates of Penzance’ sails into Rearden Theater at Rabun Gap

The musical cast and crew wowed audiences October 26-27 when “Pirates of Penzance” sailed into the Rearden Theater.

“Pirates of Penzance” was Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s signature fall musical and the first mainstage performance of the year.  Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious operetta produced tons of laughs and featured a live student orchestra. More than 70 Rabun Gap students were involved in the production, both on stage and behind the scenes.

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The band of pirates performs in Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s “Pirates of Penzance.” Pictured, from left, are Brook Knittel ’21 of Otto, NC, Miko Stankiewicz ‘19 of Gdansk, Poland,  Pirate King Jay Reece ‘19 of Atlanta, GA, Tsering Lama ’21 of Highlands, NC, Bella Wheeler ’19 of Georgetown, Cayman Islands, Isabella Crump ’22 of Clayton, GA, and Ilana Nzizera ’20 of Kigali, Rwanda. Submitted photo

The show  follows the story of Frederic (Daniel Dobromirov ’19 of Nova Sad, Serbia) an apprentice to a rambunctious crew of pirates led by Pirate King (Jay Reece ‘18 of Atlanta, GA). Ruth (Cathy Gu ‘19 of Shanghai, China), the former nursemaid to Frederic, appears and reveals that she made a mistake many years ago and accidentally apprenticed him to a pirate instead of a pilot. He disavows the pirates’ way of life and falls for the beautiful Mabel (Anja Racic ‘19 of Nova Sad, Serbia), daughter of the Major-General  (Alex Kehoe ‘19 of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia) .

When the Pirate King discovers that the Major General has lied about being an orphan to keep the pirates from stealing all of his belongings and carrying off his bevy of beautiful daughters, they devise a plan of attack. The Sergeant of Police (Katie Cox ‘18 of Rabun Gap, GA) and his corps arrive. In the end, Frederic and Mabel are reunited, and the Major-General is happy to marry his daughters to the noble pirates after all.

Fine Arts department chair Mr. Sean Lakey directed the show, with musical and vocal direction by Ms. Allegra Boggess, choreography by Ms. Heidi Spoon, and technical direction by Mr. Albert Fusco and Sam Poole ’18 of Clayton, GA.

Designers for the production included Liam Spoon ‘19 of Otto, NC (lighting design), Liam Spoon ‘19 of Otto, NC, Poole (sound design), Sophie Biaso ‘20 of Sapphire, NC and Gabrielle Jiang ‘19 of Nanjing, China (costume design), and Leah Grace Craig ‘19 of Highlands, NC (set design).

The musical is Rabun Gap’s entry into the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Shuler Awards. Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has had a strong history in the Shuler Awards, earning three nominations and three honorable mentions last year.

This isn’t the first time Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School has debuted “Pirates of Penzance” — the School’s Glee Club performed the same show in 1959.

“It was a great experience for us to recreate this classic musical into a show that appealed across generations,” said Lakey. “I am so proud of the hard work our students put in. For many involved, this was their first musical performance and they were phenomenal. Thank you to everyone who came out to the show and supported us.”

The next big mainstage performance will be Rabun Gap’s annual cirque production on February 15-16, 2019.

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