The entire Symphony Orchestra lead by Conductor Michael Butterman was on the stage (with lots of strings), and the audience enjoyed watching them during the long Overture. Minimalists would have loved this production. Oh, there were wonderful costumes for the entire cast with very color of the rainbow but the settings were simple but effective. In act I, three boulders of varying sizes were used. In act II, concrete looking benches, four columns and a couple of statues were added. Mostly we saw all the action and characters up close and personal on the very front of the stage.
Fantastic singing voices for the principals and entire cast were the rule in this production, but they always are in a Tod Booth directed musical. There were twenty eight songs in this production (I know, I counted them), and the timing between the singers and the orchestra could not have been better. A good time was had by all, and though more than a century old The Pirates of Penzance lives on as a true classic in musical theatre. If you missed it, you missed a good one.
I had seen the previous musicals done by the Alhambra and the Symphony and for a while it looked like we had seen the last one as the Alhambra closed just over one year ago but Craig Smith and his investors bought the theatre and reopened it. They had a commitment to drawing on its long tradition of excellent productions but upgraded the atmosphere and food to become an entertainment showcase. The marriage of the Jacksonville Symphony and the Alhambra will continue as it should since quality always attracts quality.
We don’t know what the musical collaboration will be next fall, but you can bet it will be once again, fantastic and unique. Thanks JSO, and the Alhambra Theatre for a most entertaining evening of excellent theatre. I can’t wait until next year.