Ballet San Jose - Pirates of Penzance! Nov. 19-21, 2009


Ballet San Jose presents
Daryl Gray’s
A Swashbuckling Ballet
November 19-21, 2009

Gilbert and Sullivan's PIRATES OF PENZANCE explodes onto the ballet stage with swashbuckling pirates and damsels in distress. Following the comic operetta of 1879 and the hit musical of 1980, choreographer Daryl Gray's extravaganza is jam packed with tour de force dance, a re-orchestrated Broadway-flavored score featuring four comic onstage vocalists, Symphony Silicon Valley live performance under the baton of Dwight Oltman, and all the fantasy, gaiety, and romance that this wonderful G&S story has to offer. Ballet San Jose Artistic Director Nahat calls PIRATES OF PENZANCE, "stylish fantasy and heaps of fun." These buccaneers deliver loads of action and non-stop laughs for the entire family. Kick start your Holiday Season. You will love it!

Daryl Gray’s PIRATES OF PENZANCE traces the adventures of the always-dutiful young Frederic. After learning that, as a child, he was accidentally apprenticed to a band of pirates (his nurse misheard ‘pilot’ for ‘pirate’), Frederic vows to pursue a more honorable path in life and fight against the pirates—that is, as soon as he finishes his apprenticeship with them, as he feels his duty requires. The buccaneers, actually all kindhearted folk, find it hard to keep up their marauding ways, but nonetheless, they kidnap a group of beautiful young women to become their wives, incurring the wrath of the local authorities. Only the intervention of Frederic, who falls in love with one of the women, can bring peace between pirates and police.

Choreography: DARYL GRAY
Orchestration: HENRY ARONSON

Thursday, November 19th @ 8:00pm (Opening)
Friday, November 20th @ 8:00pm
Saturday, November 21 at 1:30pm Special 1 Hour Children's Matinee (reduced prices/performed to a recorded score)
Saturday, November 21 @ 8:00pm
Sunday, November 22 @ 1:30pm (Full-Length Matinee)

San Jose Center for the Performing Arts 255 Almaden Boulevard in downtown San Jose

Tickets: $30-$85
Children’s Matinee: $16-$47
Box Office: (408) 288-2800 or buy online at


Pirate King (The Famous, of Penzance)
Pirates (His Illustrious Crew)
Frederic (The Indentured Pirate Apprentice or A Slave of Duty)
Ruth (The Piratical Maid of All Work)
Major-General Stanley (The Very Model of a Modern Major-General)
His Daughters and Wards:
Mabel (The Lovely, Loyal and Compassionate)
Her Sisters:
Seven or more other sisters
Sergeant of Police (With Constabulary Duty’s To Be Done)
Police (Whose Attentions Are Well Meant)
Theatergoers - (Gilbert & Sullivan Aficionados): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone/Bass


Act I
A Pirate Ship Offshore and a Rocky Seashore on the Coast of Cornwall
Late Victorian England

When Frederic was yet a little boy, his nurse, Ruth, was told to apprentice him to a pilot. She heard the word incorrectly and apprenticed him to a pirate - the Pirate King and his band of pirates, remaining with them herself as a maid of all work for many years. Although Frederic loathed the trade to which he had thus been bound, he dutifully served, and, as the curtain rises, his indentures are almost up, and he is preparing to devote himself to the extermination of piracy.

He urges the pirates to join him in embracing a more lawful calling, but they refuse. Ruth, however, wishes to become his wife. Having seen but few women he does not know whether she is really as pretty as she says she is, but he finally consents to take her with him.

Once ashore, a group of girls, all daughters and wards of Major-General Stanley, happily wandering on their way by the sea, happen upon the scene. Frederic sees their beauty-- and Ruth’s plainness-- and renounces her. Of these girls, Mabel takes a particular interest in Frederic and he in her. Suddenly, the other girls are seized in a raid by the pirates and threatened with immediate marriage. Frederic tries to defend them valiantly. When the Major-General arrives, he can dissuade the pirates only by a ruse. He tells them that he is an orphan, as the pirates are too, and so works upon their sympathies that they let him and his girls go free. As the sun sets the Pirates head one way and Major-General Stanley, Frederick, Mabel and her sisters go the other.


pirates of penzance

Act II
A Ruined Chapel by Moonlight

During the ensuing days and nights, however, the lie about being an orphan troubles the Major-General’s conscience. He sits brooding over it at night in a Gothic Ruin. He is consoled by his daughters sympathies and Frederic’s plan to immediately lead the Police Sergeant and his band of police against the pirates.

Meanwhile, the Pirate King and Ruth appear and beckon Frederic. They have discovered that his indentures were to have run until his 21st birthday, and - as he was born on February 29 - he has as yet really only had five birthdays. Obeying the dictates of his strong sense of duty, he immediately rejoins the pirates. Frederic declares his love for Mabel and she for him. Though he can not remain with her for now, Mabel declares she will faithfully wait for him. Rejoining the Pirate band, Frederick tells the Pirate King of the deception that has been practiced upon them. A chase ensues and they seize and bind the Major-General and his family.

At last the police come to the rescue and charge the pirates to yield “in Queen Victoria’s name.” This they do, because with all their faults they remain loyal subjects of the Queen. Ruth explains, however, that these men who appear to be lawless pirates are all “noblemen who have gone wrong”, and they are pardoned and permitted to marry the Major-General’s daughters.

"Pirates of Penznace, the Ballet!" was originally created on The Queensland Ballet, Australia's oldest ballet company. It premiered at the Sun Corp Theater in Brisbane, Australia on April 12, 1996.

The new and expanded version of “Daryl Gray’s Pirates of Penzance!” had its world premiere with Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley on November 18, 2004 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose, CA



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