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Quaker Valley's 'Pirates of Penzance' readies for stage

If you go

Quaker Valley High School's production of “The Pirates of Penzance” opens at 7:30 p.m. on March 20. The show continues Friday and Saturday with 7:30 p.m. performances. A 2 p.m. performance is planned for Saturday. Performances will take place in the auditorium at Quaker Valley High School, 625 Beaver St., Leetsdale.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/senior citizens. All seats are reserved. Tickets will be sold in the high school office from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. today and Friday, as well as Monday and Tuesday. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.qvsd.org/musical.

Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, tickets may be purchased at Salud Juicery, 348 Beaver St., Sewickley. If available, tickets will be sold at the door beginning at 6 p.m. prior to each show.

Senior citizen dinner, show planned

A special dinner and show are planned for senior citizens on Wednesday.

A light dinner will be served beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Quaker Valley High School cafeteria, followed by a dress rehearsal performance of “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Transportation to the senior citizens' show is provided from Edgeworth and Osborne elementary schools, Union Aid Apartments and the Leetsdale Senior High Rise. Pickup will be between 4 and 4:15 p.m.

Dinner is $6 per person – transportation and admission to the show are free.

Reservations are required for dinner and transportation. Contact Rachel Schneider at 412-965-8430 or send her an email at schneiderr@qvsd.org. The reservation deadline is Friday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

When Quaker Valley High School's student actors open their spring musical next week, some theatergoers might recognize the operatic sounds.

About 50 performers, under the direction of Lou Valenzi, will revive “The Pirates of Penzance” — a show performed at Quaker Valley in 2004.

“It's a pretty outrageous production,” said Peter Heres, a junior, who portrays the Pirate King.

The story is based on the coast of Cornwall, where pirate apprentice Frederic (played by senior Patrick Hughes) prepares for his 21st birthday and a chance to leave the pirate gang. His plan is to destroy the group once he leaves. He eventually falls in love with a woman.

The show originally opened in 1879, and was created by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert. It has been modernized over the years.

Heres called his role of the Pirate King “manic,” adding that Frederic is like a son to the king.

Heres said he is excited to revive a show the school did a decade ago.

“I don't think people will know the show, but it was done 10 years ago here,” he said. “A lot of people who saw it 10 years ago are thrilled to come back and see it. It's kind of like a remake.”

For senior K.J. Devlin, the show marks his seventh and final production at Quaker Valley.

“It's a pretty big sense of absolution,” said Devlin, who portrays the Major General. “I've watched the seniors graduate and hand off the reigns, and now it's me.”

Devlin said he'll miss his time as a student actor at Quaker Valley, but is thankful for the experience.

“I've amassed a lot of skills that can help toward being a successful person in life,” he said.

One of Devlin's early roles at Quaker Valley was a picture frame in a middle school production of “Honk,” he said.

“I had to stand still for 12 minutes — that's been the hardest role of my career,” Devlin said, laughing.

This year's show has been demanding.

“We've faced different challenges each year,” Devlin said. “Musically, this is a very challenging show.

“Early on, I had thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have so little lines this year, it's going to be so easy.' But you make up for it with the amount of lyrics. So that hit me a little bit.”

For Nicholas Medich, the show marks his final production at Quaker Valley.

“It's definitely a sad moment when you realize you're never going to be doing this again,” said Medich, who portrays the role of Sergeant of Police.

“But I think one of the most interesting things that I did not expect was the realization that most of the people I've done the show with the past three years aren't in the show anymore because they've graduated. Every year has been so different.”

What sets this year's show apart from previous productions is footwork, Medich said.

“The difference this year is that this show doesn't have as much dancing as last year,” he said. “For me, it's always been about the dancing. It's a lot of singing.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 orrcherry@tribweb.com.

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