IF YOU GO
■ What: "The Pirates of Penzance."
■ When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22.
■ Where: Rudd Auditorium, Bryan College, 721 Bryan Drive, Dayton, Tenn.
■ Admission: $7 students, $10 adults.
■ Phone: 423-775-7271 (tickets), 423-775-7498 (information).
■ Website: www.bryan.edu/arts.
A 1978 episode of "The Muppet Show" featured a duet between guest host Gilda Radner and a 7-foot-tall talking carrot on "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," the best-known song from "The Pirates of Penzance." The setup was that Radner had requested a 7-foot-tall talking parrot, but Kermit had difficulty reading her handwriting. The mix-up is a nod to a plot point in which the hard-of-hearing maid mistakenly apprenticed her young charge, Frederic, to a pirate, instead of a ship's pilot.
"The Pirates of Penzance," one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular operas, will be staged this weekend by the Bryan Opera Theatre at Bryan College.
The comic operetta centers on a young pirate apprentice, Frederic, who believes his indentured service to a gentlemanly band of pirates ends when he turns 21. Then he discovers that his Leap Day birthday requires him to serve another 63 years. In the meantime, he has met the beautiful daughter of a military officer, but she agrees to wait for him faithfully. Further complicating matters is the conflict between the pirates and the police.
The production pokes fun at grand opera conventions, sense of duty, family obligation and the "respectability" of civilization.
Principal roles will be sung by students Jay Carpenter (as the Pirate King), Garrett Hill (Frederic), Brittany Feeser (Mabel), Randy Bright (Major-General Stanley) and Jason Gonzalez (Sergeant of Police).
In other roles are Bethany Sheats, Andrew Warren, Katie Warren, Naomi Martin and Emily Cairns. A 20-member chorus will support the principal cast, with accompaniment by an orchestra led by Dr. Mel Wilhoit, head of the Music Department. Kimberly Keck, assistant professor of music, is directing the production.
Tickets are available in the Rudd Auditorium box office or may be reserved by phone.