Gilbert and Sullivan’s timeless operetta H.M.S. Pinafore has maintained popularity on both sides of the Atlantic ever since its 1878 premiere in London. The show’s satirical jabs at the vaunted British Navy and at rigid Victorian class distinctions are as universally understandable and comical in the new millennium as they were over 100 years ago.
Author Gilbert’s characters are sharply drawn, from the romantic hero Ralph Rackstraw and the pompous Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., to the villainous Dick Deadeye. Composer Sullivan provides indelible musical introductions: “I'm called Little Buttercup”, “I am the Captain of the Pinafore”, “I am the Monarch of the Sea” —songs which are among the most famous in the English language. The chorus also has their share of unforgettable numbers including the sailors’ “We Sail the Ocean Blue”, the ladies’ “And We Are His Sisters, and His Cousins, and His Aunts” and the rousing full ensemble anthem “For He Is an Englishman”.