The Pirates of Penzance | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Pirates of Penzance

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As in Wilford Leach's acclaimed 1981 production, later a film, director William Osetek soft-pedals Gilbert and Sullivan's operatic score. But if you neutralize the music, you must dial up the comedy--and Osetek's uninspired staging offers merely a bland story about silly, inept pirates sniffing around maidens in Victorian England. Die-hard G & S fans will note with frustration how distant modern productions are from the rich vocals of classic renditions. Even Jamie Dawn Gangi, lovely and comically sharp as ingenue Mabel, twitters coloratura passages instead of letting them soar. The ensemble occasionally manages a pleasing, powerful sound, but with the exception of Jeff Kuhl, who hits all the right notes as Major-General Stanley, the individual performers merely deliver the material without elevating it. Through 5/7: Wed 1:30 PM, Thu 1:30 and 8 PM, Fri 8:30 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7 PM, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Roosevelt and Butterfield, Oakbrook Terrace, 630-530-0111, $22-$26.

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