Oskar Eustis, artistic director, and Patrick Willingham, executive director of The Public Theater, just announced that their annual gala will celebrate the company’s acclaimed 1980 production of the musical “The Pirates of Penzance” with a one-night-only concert performance on Monday, June 10 , 2013 at the Delacorte Theater where The Public’s production originally premiered more than three decades ago.
We saw this unforgettable production that starred Linda Ronstadt as Mabel and Kevin Kline as the Pirate King, and which eventually moved to Broadway where it was a smash hit.
“The Pirates of Penzance” features a book and lyrics by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan. Other cast members included Rex Smith as Frederic and George Rose as Major-General Stanley.
The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production, directed by Wilford Leach with musical adaptation by William Elliot and choreography by Graciela Daniele, later transferred to Broadway and won the 1981 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.
The gala will also honor the late Nora Ephron, who was a longtime Public Theater board member and consummate lover of Shakespeare in the Park, according to the Public Theater press release announcing the event.
Eustis said in the press release, “Our 1980 production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ was one of the most joyous examples of Joe Papp’s producing genius in The Public’s history. This one-night concert will be a night to celebrate both Nora and Joe.”
For my personal memories of the beloved Nora Ephron, see my story over at New Jersey Newsroom.