CWU, Valley Musical Theatre to Perform “Pirates of Penzance”

CWU's music department and Valley Musical Theatre team up to present "Pirates of Penzance" at CWU. Photo by: Wendy Holden.

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Summer in Ellensburg means community theater, and this year local talent will perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance,” to be shown for the next two weekends at Central Washington University’s Music Building Concert Hall.

The Valley Musical Theatre, CWU music department and other members of the CWU community, will perform in this rollicking tale of English pirates and their encounter with Major General. Retiring music department Chair Peter Gries will appear as Major General, CWU’s human resources Director of Employment and Labor Relations, Kirk Eslinger, will play the role of Sergeant, and CWU Flute Professor Hal Ott will direct. CWU music students Sasha Rawlinson, Michael Connolly and Courtney VanWinkle also have lead roles.

One of the best known of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas, “Pirates of Penzance” features such gems as the famous patter song, “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.” The musical first opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on Dec. 31, 1879. Its storyline revolves around Frederic, a young pirate apprentice who is about to be freed from his indentured period. Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed as a pirate (instead of as a pilot) by his partially deaf nursemaid Ruth, has decided to leave the pirate life. Never having seen a woman besides Ruth, he falls in love at first sight with Mabel, one of the daughters of Major General Stanley, but soon he discovers that due to a technicality, he is still bound by duty to remain a pirate apprentice. The usual hilarious complications ensue, followed by the customary happy ending.

Performances will be July 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. There will also be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on July 10. This production is co-sponsored by the CWU Music Department and Valley Musical Theatre, and features CWU faculty, students, and Ellensburg community members.

Tickets are $12, which includes a ticketing fee, and available online at Tickets are also available by calling 509-963-1301 or at the door. Tickets will be sold starting an hour before performances and doors to the auditorium will be open for seating 30 minutes prior to each show.

To find out more about Valley Musical Theatre, visit its Web site at

Persons of disability may make arrangements for reasonable accommodation by calling 509-963-1103 or (for hearing impaired) TDD 509-963-2143.


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