Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

Read expert-written show guides with context, plot, characters and video examples.

...
...

Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular show, The Pirates of Penzance, is a rollicking, delightfully funny tale of a band of soft-tempered pirates. Mistakenly apprenticed to a pirate by his nursemaid Ruth at the age of eight, the handsome Frederic is now twenty-one and, though quite fond of the gro... read more

Candide

Based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella of the same name, Candide takes the audience on a round-the-world romp of idealistic optimism as it clashes with a series of absurdly unfortunate events. The young and naïve title character is betrothed to the Baron of Westphalia’s beautiful daughter Cunegonde, a... read more

The Mikado

Since its premiere in 1885 at the Savoy Theatre in London, The Mikado has become one of the most-performed pieces of musical theatre in history. As with many of Gilbert and Sullivan’s productions, the show satirizes aspects of Victorian Britain’s politics and aristocracy; in The Mikado, however... read more

H.M.S Pinafore

Since its premiere in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wildly popular operetta H.M.S. Pinafore has delighted audiences with a nautically-tinged story of star-crossed lovers. The gentlemanly Captain Corcoran of the good ship Pinafore has a daughter, Josephine, who is in love with a lowly but gallant... read more

Babes in Toyland

Alan and his sister, Jane run away from their evil Uncle Barnaby and are introduced to a variety of Mother Goose characters including Contrary Mary and Tom-Tom the Piper's Son. They survive a shipwreck and travel to far off lands including the famous 'Toyland' where they meet the toy-maker and vi... read more

Die Fledermaus

On New Year’s Eve, Eisenstein is being forced to go to jail for punching a police officer, however decides to evade jail for one night so that he can go to Prince Orlofsky’s lavish party. Eisenstein wants to go with his friend Falke, so he tells his wife, Rosalinde, that he is heading off to jail... read more

The Gondoliers

The twelfth collaboration between composer Arthur Sullivan and librettist W.S. Gilbert, The Gondoliers   tells the story of two charming Venetian gondoliers, Giuseppe and Marco, who are informed that due to an error of identity when they were young boys, one of them is the heir to the throne of B... read more

The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe)

Baron Zeta is desperate that the wealthy widow Hanna Glavari marry a Pontevedrian man so that her fortune remains in the country. He attempts to match her and his handsome attaché, Danilo. It turns out that Danilo and Hanna had had a love affair in years past. Nevertheless, Danilo now refuses... read more

Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse

Although Ruddigore’s 1887 premiere did not enjoy the same success as its predecessor, The Mikado , it is now regarded as one of the gems of the Gilbert and Sullivan canon. A satirical take on the Victorian Melodrama genre, Ruddigore’s zany plot has it all--ghosts, witches, curses, disguises, and... read more

Trial by Jury

Can you sue someone for breaking off an engagement? In Gilbert and Sullivan’s courtroom farce Trial by Jury, it’s a very serious crime The fickle and bigoted defendant, Edwin, has fallen in love with another woman and has jilted the plaintiff, the beautiful Angelina. Unfortunately for Edwin, a... read more