Blog – Pirates Auditions

Sentimental pirates, blundering policeman, and absurd adventures await in Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous musical: the Pirates of Penzance.

A young man mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate king as a lad is finally old enough to turn his back on his “vile profession”. Desperate to find a good wife and honest happiness he throws himself on the mercy of the daughters of the Major General. Mabel takes pity on him and agrees to marry him but tearing away from his old life proves harder than he thought and he finds himself torn between his love for Mabel and his duty to his former comrades.

Pirates of Penzance is a comic tale of love and responsibility with larger than life characters, beautiful costumes and feel good musical numbers. With a wide variety of roles for competent singers but also many roles for comedy actors and chorus. PTC’s summer musical is sure to be a success.

A show like this attracts all types of people and I was proud and excited today to see how many people from all walks of life, ages and abilities showed up to audition on Sunday afternoon. Gilbert and Sullivan are very well known and do attract a lot of attention, they’re not as main stream as they used to be and a few comments I got when I asked auditionees were along the lines of “well I’ve never done it before.” I asked several auditionees and members of the audition panel about their experience so far and their expectations for the show. Many of the candidates responded with comments like “I love the show”, “I’ve always liked Gilbert and Sullivan” and Pirates of Penzance is such a fun show to do that a lot of the comments I received were “I thought it’d be fun.”

JG has recently joined PTC and has already taken on very different parts. From a camp king to a money grabbing land owner JG is no stranger to the stage. He was nervous because of the operatic element of the show and felt he didn’t do as good a job as he’d liked and is relieved to be asked to attend the 2nd auditions on Tuesday 21st March.

SN commented that she was “bricking it” before she went in but was relieved when she came out and commented on the panel and how nice they were. She felt she did alright and hopes to hear back soon.

MK has performed in many G & S shows in the past as both Pirate King and Major General. He was feeling upbeat and excited about the audition and the panel made him feel relaxed.

LP has been in a few musicals usually as chorus and was looking forward to the auditions. Although she was feeling a bit nervous claiming that she “sounds beautiful in the shower” but in the audition room it’s a different story. However, as she’s recently played Jack’s mother in Into the Woods we are sure she was fine.

RF has performed in many shows both at NAT and Lacemarket, however it’s been a while since he’d performed in a musical however he was once one of “the best tenors in the country” according to an award his choir won. He felt very unprepared today because there’s such a lot to think about in a show like this and getting the tune perfect is always a challenge. He thought his audition was rubbish his notes were all in the wrong place however he felt he was amusing and the panel liked that so perhaps the comedy element of the characters worked in his favour.

We had some G & S veterans audition as well, fantastic singers who have spent “40 years” performing in their work and have been involved in shows as many as 15 times. These talented actors are very familiar with the story and their skills will surely benefit the production if they’re cast. I was pleased to see some brand-new faces as well as some well-known ones attend the auditions and hear some beautiful voices. It’s always nice when new people arrive and when they say they’re “excited”, feel like their audition “went well” and that they had “a good time.” PTC are a very welcoming group and new faces are always welcome.

I didn’t just grill the auditionees, I was fortunate enough to catch the audition panel as well before they went off to make their decisions. There were “some interesting characters and surprises” When asked the panel felt certain that they could cast most of the parts they need but would really like more chorus members.

If anyone is interested in chorus there will be open auditions from 7pm at NAT on Tuesday 21st March, so make sure you pop along.

I spoke with Andrew Nicklin, the director and he’s excited to begin rehearsals. He gave some advice for what he expects from the cast when they start rehearsals next month. “understand the story & get to grips with the dialogue.” If possible try and familiarise yourselves with the vocals because “they’re important. However much the characters come out, remember it’s a strong chorus that matters in G & S”

So there you have it guys, if you want to audition come by on Tuesday. If not, the show will run from 4th to 8th July 2017 at Nottingham Arts Theatre, tickets can already be booked on the NAT website.

Hope to see you there.

Jessica McLean

Deputy Chair