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Described by College junior and cast member Harlan Freilicher as "a light-hearted tale of pirates and policemen, of maidens and major-generals, of duty and deceit," The Pirates of Penzance marks Penn Singers' 20th anniversary as a Gilbert and Sullivan troupe. Although Penn Singers was originally formed as an all-female a capella group in 1957, the company has performed a Gilbert and Sullivan musical annually since 1971. "We chose Pirates because it was our first full-length Gilbert and Sullivan, and it seemed appropriate to celebrate that," explained director Bruce Montgomery. The cast was filled with excitement as tonight's opening show approached. "It's hilarious, extremely well-written, and the music is gorgeous," said Wharton graduate student Tom Love. "There's some trouble with polish, but it's getting there, and people are very enthusiastic." "Everyone is looking forward to it," added graduate student David White. "The show has a very high level of entertainment and energy, with lots of singing and dancing and color." The recent deaths of group members Jennifer Koons and Matthew Blau in a Spring Break auto accident was a devastating blow to all the cast and crew, but Montgomery said he believes the show had to go on. "We mourn them desperately, but the greatest tribute we could possibly pay them would be to go ahead," the director said. "I think it's what they would have wanted." "We're all very saddened by our loss, but I think the most therapeutic thing is to keep doing the show," added Penn Singers president Jeffrey Hammond, a Wharton senior. The show is dedicated to Coons and Blau, and all involved said they were determined to put on a production worthy of their memory. "We all miss them, but the show goes on, and it's going to be good," said Hammond. "The music is wonderful, the actors are wonderful, and the comedy is as fresh as when it originally started." Montgomery said he believes that the humor of Gilbert and Sullivan's work guarantees its ongoing appeal. "The genius of these two gentlemen was that they had the ability to satirize foibles that will always be foibles," he said. College senior Susan Poliniak said that the production will be wholesome entertainment for all the family. "There's nothing dirty," Poliniak said, displaying the female players' costumes as evidence. "We all wear pantaloons, so if the skirts go up, we're concealed." Penn Singers' production of The Pirates of Penzance will be performed in the Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, faculty and staff, and are available at the Annenberg Center Box Office or on Locust Walk.

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