Operetta to raise funds for community theater expansion
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- Singing pirates will weigh anchor in Vero Beach next month for the first time in 18 years.
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild's summer fundraiser and production of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's renowned comic operetta "The Pirates of Penzance" is scheduled for July 18-21 and includes a cast of 36 actors from the community.
Mark Wygonik, production director and sitting guild president, has taken the helm of the high energy musical and is excited to bring the beloved operetta to life on the stage.
"Gilbert and Sullivan were a very prolific writer and composer team and they made so many wonderful light operas. They were the rock stars of their time," Mr. Wygonik said.
The storyline of the musical follows Frederick, a young pirate apprentice who falls in love with Mabel, the daughter or a military man. Frederick is faced with a dilemma when he must choose between piracy and honest living, duty and love. Hilarity ensues when he must overcome obstacles in his journey, Mr. Wygonik said.
"It really opens the door for all kinds of silliness and great songs," he said.
About one-third of the cast are newbies to the guild stage.
"Normally in the summertime people want to take a step back and relax from their usual activities, but dozens of volunteers and actors have come forward to help with this production," Mr. Wygonik said.
The reason for the summer production is to raise funds for the theater expansion project. By adding a three-story building adjacent to the current theater facility on San Juan Avenue, the guild will be able to have a full-size rehearsal space, dressing rooms, costume production room and small prop storage, all within a few steps of the theater.
"Currently, the guild has to spend more than $18,000 annually to rent storage and rehearsal space," Mr. Wygonik said.
"It's not a good way to be spending our money. We are a community theater and all the people that volunteer here are people that live and work in our community. It's hard when you want to bring better productions for the community when you don't have that space," he said.
Show times for "The Pirates of Penzance" will be July 18 at 7 p.m., July 19-20 at 8 p.m. and July 20-21 at 2 p.m.
For the 8 p.m. performance on July 20, patrons are invited to dress as pirates.
Adult tickets are $25. Youth 18 and younger are $15.
For tickets or more information about the Vero Beach Theatre Guild's expansion plans or the upcoming season of shows, visit www.verobeachtheatreguild.com.