Severna Park Middle School Takes On “The Pirates Of Penzance Jr.”

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The Severna Park Middle School’s Spartan Lyrical Society will present “The Pirates of Penzance Jr.” from April 3 to 5.

Written by dramatist William Schwenck Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan in 1879, “The Pirates of Penzance” is a comic opera that tells the story of Frederic, a pirate and indentured servant who is freed on his 21st birthday. Frederic, who has never met a woman aside from his nursery maid Ruth, meets the Major General’s daughter, Mabel, and the two fall in love. All is right in the world until Frederic learns that he is still indentured to the pirates due to a technicality.

“With my background in opera, I have always wanted to do the junior version of Pirates,” said music director Sara Metcalfe. “This year, the stars aligned and here we are!”

With over 59 students in the cast and 20 in the crew, this production splits the ensemble into three groups - the pirates, the daughters and the police. The show stars Jon Garvey as Frederic, Annabelle Wellschlager as Mabel, Nicholas Stohler as the Major General, Reilly Miller as the Pirate King, Spencer Feldmann as Samuel, Mason Fleming as Ruth and Brandon Chisholm as the Police Sergeant.

“We’ve become really good friends and the characters in general are really funny,” said Stohler. “It's an entertaining show.”

Stohler said he is most excited for the “iconic” Major General’s song.

“The [‘I Am The Very Model of a Modern-Major General’] song is my favorite part,” said Stohler. “It was the first rap song ever recorded. It's a bit hard to sing, but it’s fun.”

The song was written as a patter, an early form of rap with a fast melody most common in operatic music. This Gilbert and Sullivan classic is famous for its unique, challenging musical numbers.

“I like that most of it is singing,” said Wellschlager. “There’s not a lot of dialogue and it's different.”

With a multi-level set based loosely off the film “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” the production is filled with “magical” moments and modern references to keep the audience from feeling like they are watching a 19th century opera.

“We’ve added a small twist into all the numbers, pulling from current musicals and adding in jokes from different movies and current musical culture,” said director David Merrill. “It’s a fun, inclusive experience for all. I would kindly ask [people] to come out and support these young people, cheer them on and go on this journey with them.”

The cast promises a night of laughs and entertainment for the audience.

“The directors are great and it's a fun show,” said Garvey. “There’s really nothing that I don't like.”

Rehearsals began in early January and the students are anxious to show off all of their hard work.

“These young people are just incredible,” said Merrill. “I mean they're not just talented with beautiful voices, but they're kind, considerate and respectful. It speaks wonders of the environment and education that Severna Park Middle School is providing our young people. I know when the show goes up and we turn the show over to be completely run by the middle school students, we will be in great hands.”

Tickets will be available on March 20 online at www.spmssings.org and at the door for $10.

“It's not really a production that you see our age group do,” said sixth-grader Violet Thompson, who plays a daughter. “It just opens up what kids can do if they put their minds to it.”

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