Shiver me timbers: ‘Pirates of Penzance’ comes to Murfreesboro

Photo by Krystal Loritts / Contributing Writer

The comic opera, “Pirates of Penzance,” is the latest production to be featured on the Murfreesboro’s Center for the Arts’ stage. And because of its captivating storyline, originally created by Sir Arthur Sullivan and William Schwenck Gilbert, fans-a-plenty continue to nestle their way inside to catch a glimpse of this exceptional interpretation of a pirate’s life.

The entire cast of  “Pirates of Penzance” delivered a solid performance in the telling of a young man, Frederic, who denounces his life as a pirate to find a maiden to marry. And although the opera is intended to be comedic, it does contain scenes that need to be taken serious, and each actor or actress used that transition to his  or her advantage by showcasing incredible talent.

The setting of the play takes place in England in 1876, which calls for British accents, a task perfected by the entire cast. The shining star of the opera, though, was Nate Paul, who acted as Major General. From his initial appearance to his final bow, Paul forced an eruption of laughter and applause. He maintained an unbeatable stage presence and proved worthy of his casting position with demanding vocals.

Ryan Leyhue acted as Pirate King, and he, too, held the audience’s attention, regardless if he was alone or lost in a sea of people on stage. It was the tiny details that allowed him to shine, such as the hint of swagger in his walk that only a real captain could own and his effortless attempt to engage audience members’ attention through eye contact and gesture. Leyhue truly demanded an aura of authority through his incredible stage presence.

The play was made up of two lengthy acts, which means there’s only a single intermission, and oftentimes that is the perfect recipe for boredom. But, the “Pirates of Penzance” audience appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves in both acts, and that’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

“Pirates of Penzance” is one to see, especially if you love opera and humor. From the many laughs to the amazing cast and their gift of storytelling, this play makes for an incredible night out..

“Pirates of Penzance” will complete its Murfreesboro residency Aug. 27. To purchase tickets, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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