The Academy of the Arts at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith will wrap up this year’s On Stage Series May 16-18 with four showings of the musical comedy “Pirates of Penzance JR.”
The performances, which will be held at the Breedlove Auditorium, will take place at 7 p.m. May 16, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 17, and 2 p.m. May 18. Admission is by an On Stage Series ticket or $12 for adults and $8 for children 10 and under.
“Pirates of Penzance” is a classic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that explores a humorous cast of characters -- including sentimental pirates, bumbling policeman and dim-witted young lovers -- and their obligation to the often-ridiculous dictates of honor and duty.
Director Shannon Stoddard of Fort Smith said the show will be a hit for fans of comedic musicals.
“This is a hilarious show filled with several comedic bits and lots of slap-stick humor,” she said. “These students love getting to go over the top with characters, and that is what this show is all about.”
Stoddard added that the musical, which first premiered in 1879, offered a challenge to the cast because of its archaic language.
“We really had to delve into what the characters were talking about so the actors can understand,” Stoddard said. “But the flip side of that is that it’s so cool to be able to perform such a classic show.”
Dana Mays, who plays Mabel in the production, said she enjoyed the musical despite it being over a century old.
“Even though it was written over a hundred years ago, it’s really funny to be in and hilarious to watch,” she said. “It’s a cute story with romance, pirates and the song everybody loves about the ‘Very Model of a Modern Major General.’”
Rosilee Russell of Fort Smith, the executive director of the Academy of the Arts, said she is has seen growth in the actors and actresses performing in the play.
“I’m so proud of our children,” she said. “They’re maturing artistically and have come into their own in rehearsing for this performance.”
The crew includes:
Fort Smith: Shannon Stoddard, director; Mollie Armour, musical director; and Hillary Yerton, choreographer.
The cast includes:
Barling: Heaven White.
Charleston: Alyvia Wooden.
Fort Smith: Emma Conley, Michael Doss, Zoe Hardin, Clayton Hartwig, Shelby Hartwig, Ethne Hester, Dalavanh Martinez, Ethan Martinez, Dana Mays, Hayden Parker, Erin Sampley, Caroline Turner, Ethan Wright, Gabriella Collins, Ryan Goh, Leslie Gonzalez, Brayden Graham, Sadie Hanesworth, Van Harris, Addisen Horne, Sarah Long, Michael Moreton, Lauren Murray, Alexander Putman, Sean Putman, Izabelle Simonian, Pierre Simonian, Braeden Wear.
Greenwood: Grant Huneycutt, Reece McDaniel, Juliet Ngwira, Hannah Wheatley.
Hackett: Austin Williams.
Lavaca: Tori Kerns.
Mulberry: Rylee Lewis.
Roland, Okla.: Katie Vann.
Shawnee, Okla.: Maddox Osburn.
The On Stage series includes other productions such as “Annie Get Your Gun,” “The Little Mermaid JR” and “Shrek the Musical.” The On Stage series has a total of 12 events featuring young and seasoned performers in musical and theatrical productions.
For tickets, contact the UAFS Box Office at 479-788-7300 or visit http://uafs.universitytickets.com. For more information on the Academy, call 479-788-7253.