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ENMU's 'Pirates of Penzance' production merges disciplines


February 16, 2017

Eamon Scarbrough

The cast of Eastern New Mexico University's production of "Pirates of Penzance" runs through a dress rehearsal Tuesday night in the University Theater Center. The musical premieres 7 p.m. Saturday, with a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday. General admission is $7, $3 for public school students, and free for ENMU students.

PORTALES — While Eastern New Mexico University's production of "Pirates of Penzance" includes pyrotechnics, two separate casts, and a full orchestra pit, the players cited a unique merging of disciplines as their favorite part of the experience.

The musical, created by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, brings the talents of ENMU's music and theater departments together to create a performance the community does not often see, according to Instructor of Technical Theater and Design Patrick McCreary, the director.

"There's a magic that happens when you cross similar talents, but not comprehensive talents. We're giving them (the students) certain skills, but not all the skills that we can possibly give them: Solid stage experience for vocal majors, and professional vocal training for acting majors. It's probably the most perfect wedding of disciplines that there could possibly be," said McCreary.

Six performances of "Pirates of Penzance" will be held on the University Theater Center's main stage: Two at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, three at 7 p.m. Feb. 23-25, and one at 2 p.m. Feb. 26. General admission is $7, and $3 for public school students. Admission for ENMU students is free.

Cristian Zaragoza, a vocal performance major, plays the role of the pirate king, and cited the collaboration between departments as a boon to his professional development.

"We just want to build up our resume as best we can with whatever roles we could possibly get. It's been years since the theater department has collaborated with the music department. We built the pit, where the orchestra is. We all built it together, and it's been a good experience," he said.

For Isaiah Guerrero — a vocal performance major playing protagonist Frederic — the experience of working with the theater has been a humbling one.

"The most rewarding is realizing that we're all just human. We're all here to perfect an art, and there's no machines, there's no anything. It's really rewarding knowing that humans can put something on," said Guerrero.

As an alumni of the theater department, Rose Kelly snapped at the opportunity to audition and was cast as a pirate in the chorus. After taking part in the production, she discovered a new interest.

"I really like musicals, and I think I want to possibly come back and delve into the music side of college, like music major or something like that," she said.

The production will have as much to offer audiences as it has the cast, McCreary added.

"It's very ear and eye friendly, and it's got a lot of visual candy to it, with stunts and effects and unusual and delightful characters. There's something in it for everybody, and that's what I love," he said. "I love pleasing audiences, and lifting them out of their daily life, and taking them to a happy place where they can just really feel like they haven't just wasted away a couple of hours; they've really been enriched and enlightened."


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