A swashbuckling musical journey

Local students perform in 'Pirates of Penzance'

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  • Photo provided Tri-stateActorsTheater’s 2014 interncompanytoperformthe"PiratesofPenzance."

The Summer Intern Program at the Tri-State Actors Theater is ending the season on a high note — with an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic "The Pirates of Penzance" starting Wednesday, July 30.

If you go...

WHO: Pirates of Penzance.
WHAT: Presented by Tri-State Theater.
WHEN: 11 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. 10 shows July 30 through Saturday, August 9.
WHERE: Performing Arts Center at Sussex County Community College, 145 Spring Street, Newton, N.J.
HOW MUCH: $14 for ages 18 and over and $10 for children
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 973-383-0510 or www.tristateactorstheater.org.

Local performers
The program features students ages 12 to 18 and is run by Paul Meacham, Tri-State’s founder and artistic director. This season’s intern company includes: from Andover – Brandon Schoemer; from Hamburg – Hannah Conklin and Mikaela Crowell; from Newton – Emma Kimble, Alex McCully and Julianna Moorhouse; from Ogdensburg – Chelsea Horuzy; from Port Jervis – Meghan Mahaney; from Sparta – Julia Miller; and from Sussex – Emma Cahill and Albert Weitz.

Story line

Set in Cornwall in the 1880s, The Pirates of Penzance is the timeless tale of Frederic, the "poor wan'dring one" and the fair Mabel.
Frederic, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love.
Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on Feb. 29, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His apprenticeship states that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21 birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years.
Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic's only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.

The students got involved with the theater program in a number of ways.

"It was a very happy accident. My mother was asked to pick up a tricky tray donation in 2013 for my elementary school and when she picked up the tray she spoke to Paul Meacham about the program," Emma said. "I was only 12 years old and the program was for 13 to 17 year olds at the time. My mother told Paul I wanted to be an actress and he told her to bring me to the audition that weekend. I went and was accepted to the intern program."

Mikaela Crowell got involved after being inspired by another performance.

"I have been very curious about Tri-State Actors Theater ever since I saw their production of 'A Christmas Carol' with my girl scout troop some years back," she explained. "I was so impressed with Tri-State's rendition of this classic. It was fabulous. When I saw that they were offering a summer internship, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it."

Although the performers may be young, they still focus on taking a fresh approach to these classic characters.

"I make the character my own by bringing out his inner emotions and the tension he feels when faced with a conflict," Brandon Schoemer said. "I do my best to show his heroic and strong-minded side, while also bringing in his kind-hearted and gentle side towards certain characters."

Chelsea Horuzy has a more straight forward approach.

"How I make the character mine is by trying new and different things," she said. "I try to place myself into the situation and think, 'What would my character do?' or 'What's my character's objective?'"

What to expect

Mikaela thinks it will be fun for the whole family.

"When people come to see 'The Pirates of Penzance' they will see a comedic opera with a lot of funny characters and a crazy plot," she said. "The costumes and set are amazing and the whole family will love it."

Whereas Brandon thinks it is equal parts comedy and conflict.

"People coming out to show can expect a lot of things," he said. "They can expect dumb pirates and policemen, but also see a real conflict my character faces in choosing between love and honor."

Emma points out that the characters can also be very relatable.

"People can expect to relate to some of the characters because the feelings the characters have in particular moments — though blown out of proportion — are feelings you have in everyday life," she explained. "They can also expect to come and laugh."

Chelsea just thinks it will be a great night at the theater.

"When I read the script I had a smile on my face the whole time and during rehearsal — it was hard to contain my own laughter while doing a scene," she said. "This show is going to be a good one. If you like laughing, this is the show to see."

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