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When the Village Theater in Canton opened around three years ago, the Comic Opera Guild, an Ann Arbor-based theatrical company, was in the midst of beginning a search for a new home for its productions. This month, the Guild will perform its major production of the year, “The Pirates of Penzance,” in this new facility.
The Village Theater was chosen because it is a state-of-the-art facility, situated in a growing community. It boasts an excellent staff, a large orchestra pit and a cozy 400-seat house, providing excellent acoustics and sight lines. Not only does it serve the Plymouth/Canton communities, but it is an easy 15-minute drive from Ann Arbor, and is also near Livonia and the western suburbs of Detroit. The Guild hopes to attract people from all parts of Detroit to musical productions in this new facility.
For over 30 years, the Comic Opera Guild has produced operettas and comic operas in Ann Arbor, often subsequently touring them throughout the state of Michigan. When the Ann Arbor theaters began to be unable to meet performance needs, the Guild’s board felt that it needed to expand its audience base as well.
Live theater is under constant economic pressure, and a large audience base is needed for large-scale productions such as the Guild’s. Although it has recently developed a following across the country and abroad for its recordings of the works of Victor Herbert and Jerome Kern, the Guild’s purpose cannot be fulfilled without the production of live shows such as this year’s “Pirates.”
The Guild has seldom performed Gilbert and Sullivan, but it was felt that this was the perfect show for an audience unfamiliar with its repertoire. “Pirates” is possibly the most popular of all the G&S shows, even though it is an early work. It has all the ingredients of the best musicals: rollicking action, memorable songs and lots of comedy. It’s British humor at its best, and the Guild’s cast is versatile in both dialog and vocalism.
“The Pirates of Penzance”
Feb. 15-17, 8 p.m.
The Village Theater, Canton