Presenting Pirates

Pirates of Penzance comes to Saint Paul for Pride Weekend.

One Voice Mixed Chorus will perform Pirates of Penzance at Raspberry Island in Saint Paul. This “gender-bending, topsy-turvy production,” according to executive director Christopher Taykalo, is a classic Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

One Voice is Minnesota’s only LGBTA chorus. According to artistic director Jane Ramseyer Miller, One Voice began in response to the AIDS movement in the mid-1980s.  About 10 years later, the group expanded to include the bisexual and transgender communities.
Ramseyer Miller was the one who originated the idea that One Voice should put on a production of Pirates of Penzance. She didn’t like the gender stereotypes in the original Pirates of Penzance, so she thought it would be fun to mix up stereotypes in a way that “leaves a message for the audience.”

To do this, the role of the Pirate King, usually played by a man, will be a lesbian woman. The King’s daughters will be played by men. “[This is] how we will be turning the show on its head,” Taykalo says.

This production is also part of Pride Weekend in the Twin Cities. “Twin Cities Pride was looking for more activities to bring to Saint Paul,” Ramseyer Miller says, adding that most events occur in Minneapolis.

Pirates of Penzance is free. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and there will also be food trucks. The production will have a preview on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. and performances on June 24 at 3:30 p.m. and June 25 at 2 and 5:30 p.m.