Two shows are taking Tacoma’s signature stages this week and creating quite a buzz in the 253. Tacoma Opera is opening its season by staging Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” Oct. 25 and 27 at the Rialto Theater, while Broadway Center is hosting a touring production of “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience” Oct. 29-Nov. 3 at the Pantages.
“Penzance” is a comic opera that centers on the tale of Fredric, who is set to be released from his pirate captors on his 21st birthday, only to be told that since he was born on Feb. 29 during a leap year, he won’t be seeing his 21st birthday for decades to come. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that his newly found love agrees to wait for him faithfully for 63 years and listen to some of the most clever lyrics the genre has to offer.
Bernard Kwiram, artistic director of the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society and frequent guest conductor for Tacoma Opera, is set to take the helm while Maggie McLellan, who acted as assistant director for last year’s “La Traviata,” takes the director’s chair.
The Pirate King will be played by Ryan Bede, who sang last the role of Zuniga in “La Tragedie de Carmen” and Marquis d'Obigny in “La Traviata.” Fredric will be sung by Seattle Opera Young Artist Eric Neuville. He has performed with Chautauqua Opera, Austin Chamber Opera, and is a frequent soloist with the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Conspirare. Megan Chenovick, the fair maiden Mabel, is a two-time Northwest Regional MONC finalist, with recent roles that include Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Musetta in “La Bohème.”
Tacoma Opera’s season also includes “The Barber of Seville” and “Madama Butterfly.” Tickets are $28 to $68 and available at the Tacoma Opera offices at (253) 627-7789 or at the Broadway Center Box Office or online at: http://www.tacomaopera.com.
“Potted Potter” takes on the hit magical franchise in a comically brilliant way, the likes of the “Tuna, Texas” series. Two men, Delme Thomas and James Percy, play all the key roles of the seven Harry Potter books in just over an hour to bring the magic of Hogwarts to the Muggle world. This fantastically funny show features all your favorite characters, a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon and even a game of Quidditch involving the audience. This fast-paced parody is entertaining and appropriate for all ages from six to Dumbledore, and is the perfect family-friendly event to attend over the Halloween weekend. Harry Potter-themed costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be awarded at each performance for the best outfit.
This show stars two actors who hysterically condense more than 300 characters, a fire-breathing dragon, and a barrage of jokes into 70 minutes. Because the script is part printed word and part improv, the actors toss in a few local references and play with the crowd more often than not.
“There is A LOT of improvisation with this piece,” Thomas said. “The show really does change every day. We basically got out and have fun.”
Tickets to Potted Potter run $38 to $59 and are available at the Broadway Center box office, 901 Broadway, and online at http://www.broadwaycenter.org.