Essgee's The Pirates of Penzance


Essgee's Pirates
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Operetta meets pop-eretta in this modern retelling of the well-loved classic about false identities, hopeless love, and the misfortune of being born in a leap year. Mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate instead of a pilot as a child, Frederic is now 21 and free to roam the world. He becomes smitten with the daughter of a “Modern Major-General,” only to learn that he’s technically still a pirate because his birthday is February 29th. Peppered with the tongue-twisting songs that are the signature of Gilbert & Sullivan, this new Pirates of Penzance is the modern motherlode of musical melee. A smash-hit from Down Under.


Our story begins as Frederic, a young man with an unswerving sense of duty, is about to reach his 21st birthday and conclude his long apprenticeship to the infamous Pirates of Penzance. His good-hearted but hard-of-hearing nursemaid Ruth reveals that she has made a most disastrous mistake. When Frederic was just a boy she misunderstood her employer's directive and apprenticed him to a pirate instead of a pilot, as intended. Frederic tells the Pirate King (a dashing figure who never preys on orphans since he himself has had the misfortune to be one) that his freedom will be devoted to exterminating all pirates and that it would be better for the pirates to leave before midnight when his indentures are over. The pirates depart immediately and Frederic is left alone with Ruth, the only woman he has seen in years. Ruth pleads with Frederic to take her with him, but her case is lost when a bevy of very young, attractive women appear.

Frederic appeals to the girls to overlook his pirate apparel and his past profession, but no one will listen until the beauteous Mabel appears. Frederic and Mabel fall in love instantly. The pirates return and Mabel warns them that their actions will not go unpunished since her father, the guardian of all of these young ladies, holds the exalted rank of Major-General. The Major-General is forced to pretend that he is also an orphan in order to win their sympathy. Although he fools the Pirate King, the Major-General cannot rest easy with his troubled conscience.

Meanwhile, Frederic is launching an attack on the pirates with the cowardly assistance of the police. But Ruth and the Pirate King interrupt him with a most ingenious paradox— Frederic was born in leap year on the 29th of February and, in terms of actual birthdays, is only 5 instead of 21. Frederic, slave of duty that he is, rejoins his former associates, and the police are left to attack the pirates on their own.

The Pirates seize the Major-General, and the police are quickly defeated. But the Sergeant of Police charges them to yield 'in Queen Victoria's name,' and the pirates cannot resist this overpowering appeal.

Ruth then reveals that the pirates are actually 'noblemen who have gone wrong.' Mabel and Frederic are happily united forever with the unqualified blessings of the Major-General.


As dazzling... as the Best of Broadway

–Brisbane Courier Mail


The Pirate King

Samuel, his Lieutenant


Ruth, a Pirate Maid

Major-General Stanley's Daughters – The Fabulous Singlettes


Major-General Stanley

The Sergeant

Chorus – Pirates, Maidens

  1. Intro
  2. Pour O Pour The Pirate Sherry
  3. When Frederic Was A Little Lad
  4. Oh Better Far to Live and Die
  5. Oh, False One!
  6. Climbing Over Rocky Mountain
  7. Stop, Ladies, Pray!
  8. Oh Is There Not One Maiden Breast
  9. Poor Wandering One
  10. What Ought We To Do?
  11. How Beautifully Blue the Sky
  12. Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses
  13. Hold, Monsters!
  14. I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General
  15. Oh, Men of Dark and Dismal Fate
  16. Oh Dry the Glistening Tear
  17. Then Frederic
  18. When the Foeman (Tarantara Tarantara)
  19. Now for the Pirates' Lair!
  20. When You had Left our Pirate Fold (A Paradox)
  21. You Understand (Duty Duty)
  22. Away, Away! My Hearts' on Fire
  23. All is Prepared
  24. Stay, Frederic, Stay!
  25. When a Felon's Not Engaged in his Employment
  26. A Rollicking Band of Pirates We Pirates
  27. With Cat-Like Tread
  28. Hush, Hush ! Not a Word Frederic
  29. Sighing Softly to the River
  30. Finale
  31. Megamix Finale

Essgee’s The Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan for the 21st Century, presented by arrangement with Steele Spring Stage Rights, on behalf of David Spicer Productions, representing Simon Gallaher and Essgee Entertainment.

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

Materials: Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.

Required production materials for Essgee’s The Pirates of Penzance:

  • Cast Scripts
  • Vocal Books
  • Director's Script
  • Stage Manager's Script
  • Orchestrations
  • Piano/Vocal Score

Small Set Orchestrations:

  • Piano
  • Keyboard 1
  • Keyboard 2
  • Keyboard 3
  • Bass
  • Percussion 1
  • Percussion 2

Large Set Orchestrations:

  • Piano
  • Keyboard 2
  • Bass
  • Percussion 1 (Kit, Triangle, Cowbell, Woodblock)
  • Percussion 2 (Timpani X3)
  • Percussion 3 (Glock, Xylophone, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal and Mallets, Hand Cymbals, Bass Drum, Tambourine, Cowbell, Mark Tree, Samba, Whistle)
  • Woodwind 1 (Flute, Piccolo)
  • Woodwind 2 (Oboe, Cor Anglais)
  • Woodwind 3 (Flute, Clarinet)
  • Woodwind 4 (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
  • Trumpet 1
  • Trumpet 3
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Horn in F

Production resources:

  • Reference Recording - Audio recording for reference purposes only