My absolute favorite musical: The Pirates of Penzance


Last year, my friend Liz and I spent many conversations gushing over our favorite movie musical adaptation, the 1983 HBO version of “The Pirates of Penzance.” We talked about how lame it was to watch it on VHS, which prompted my Christmas shopping quest of 2008: to find a DVD copy as her Christmas gift. After many hours of searching obscure media websites all over the world, I finally secured a copy for each of us. It was horribly overpriced, as it was a VHS-to-DVD transfer of questionable quality, but it was SO WORTH IT. Because of my success, she dubbed me “The Eternal Undisputed Queen of Awesomeness.”

And now, a year later, a much better version is available for free on Hulu. I could have asked for no better gift myself.


And now, time for some of my favorite quotes:

“Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation. Oh! pity me, my beloved friends, for such is my sense of duty that, once out of my indentures, I shall feel myself bound to devote myself heart and soul to your extermination!” Frederic

“A sad mistake it was to make
And doom him to a vile lot.
I bound him to a pirate – you!
Instead of to a pilot.” Ruth

“Every moment brings a treasure
Of its own especial pleasure;
Though the moments quickly die,
Greet them gaily as they fly” Edith

“Here, in this our rocky den,
Far away from mortal men,
We’ll be queens, and make decrees –
They may honour them who please.” Kate

“Oh, is there not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man’s affection?
To such an one, if such there be,
I swear by Heaven’s arch above you,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be – I’ll love you!” Frederic

“For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General!” The Major General

“Hail, Poetry, thou heav’n-born maid!
Thou gildest e’en the pirate’s trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment!
All hail! All hail! Divine emollient!” All Cast

“Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory!
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!
Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!” Mabel

“No matter. Our course is clear: we must do our best to capture these pirates alone. It is most distressing to us to be the agents whereby our erring fellow-creatures are deprived of that liberty which is so dear to us all – but we should have thought of that before we joined the force. Well, too late now!” Police Sergeant

“Come, friends, who plough the sea!
Truce to navigation, Take another station;
Let’s vary piracee with a little burglaree!” All Pirates

Pilot Wives Club Meetup in Chicago: Oh, What a Night!

I’m back from Chicago now, and what an exciting/fun/crazy trip it was! This is me with Misty at gate D1A. We were so sad that it ended up being such an ordeal to get out of Atlanta. There had been really bad thunderstorms and a tornado watch in Atlanta the night before, which caused a huge backup of standby passengers all through Friday. We had tried for a Chicago flight together with Becky, but it was oversold and we tried for Milwaukee. About 20 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave, Misty realized that she had lost her iPhone. Becky and I made it on the flight, but didn’t have a way to contact Misty. She tried for many flights out of ATL, including ones home to Orlando, and was stranded in ATL for the night.

Becky and I arrived in Milwaukee around 5 pm, and we were picked up by my old friend Shanna. We used to do plays together at the Draper Theater in 1995. She had moved to MKE for school and work, and we hadn’t seen each other in a decade. She saw my status message on Facebook, and she graciously offered to drive us down to Chicago. We had 90 minutes to chat and get caught up. We arrived in Chicago around 7 pm (after a series of wrong turns from bad cell phone map directions). We had dinner at Basil’s restuarant in the hotel. Kristen from PWC was from Chicago and joined us for dinner and dessert. Because of the people that couldn’t come due to missed connections and no flights with open seats, there was room at the hotel for Shanna to stay for the night.

In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel. There was a nice breakfast provided with made-to-order omelettes…yum! After eating, Shanna drove us to the Bless Spa, which Summer had gotten a recommendation through the hotel for. The “spa” ended up being a cut-rate slightly shady hair salon with bad decor and Russian and Latvian women who spoke with heavy accents. We almost bolted before getting the services, but did it anyway. Massages, pedicures, manicures, and waxing commenced. Here are my cute toes post-mani:


After the *ahem* spa, we walked across the street to Ram Brewpub for lunch. I got a grilled havarti and turkey sandwich with salad and sweet potato fries. The food was good, and the conversation better. We shared carrot cake and watched part of the Bulls basketball game. After a quick stop for necessities at the 7-11, we went back to our hotel to take it easy and get ready for our night on the town. Unfortunately, flight loads from Detroit were bad because of the Final Four, and she was unable to join us for the evening. Summer unveiled the new Pilot Wives Club logo, and details of the updated website.

Summer and Becky with their cute silver purses

Me and Summer

All ready for a night out on the town with the ladies! Notice the cute necklace courtesy of Jen.

Becky, Nicole, Summer and Jen…Pilot Wives Club represent!

Waiting for the “El”train to downtown

Inner city pressure

View of Dearborn Street…We got a little lost, as Jen hurriedly checked her GPS on her phone to find the right way for us to go. After crossing the same street 6 times, we finally found the Bank of America theater to pick up our tickets for Jersey Boys at will call.

This is Chicago! We finally made it!

Becky and Summer waiting for dinner

Jen and I

The Marquee for Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys was so fantastic! It was the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the music was incredible! A must see! All their best hits…Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Rag Doll, Dawn, Let’s Hang On, Workin’ My Way Back to You, Opus 17, and of course…Oh, What a Night! The absolute highlight of the show was the Frankie’s solo of “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You” with full brass. I had goosebumps from head to toe! If you have the chance to see Jersey Boys, you will love the music and energy. (Disclaimer: there is some language and sexual innuendo, so I would say it’s not for the kids or young teens)

We took the blue line train back towards O’Hare to our hotel, and decided to go back to the airport and take the shuttle (instead of walking in the dark streets back to the hotel) Unfortunately, there were some big problems with the shuttle driver, we waited an hour despite confirming with the driver multiple times, and we didn’t get picked up until after 12:30 am ! (Becky arranged to have another hotel’s shuttle pick us up) We stayed up eating chocolate, courtesy of Kristin, till about 2 am. Becky and I got two hours of sleep because Becky and I had the alarm set for the wrong time zone. Since we were up and ready, headed back to Atlanta on an earlier flight. She got on the 7:00 flight, and I got on the 8:15 flight. Taylor and Rosie picked me up, and we arrived home just in time to watch General Conference.

My Pirates of Penzance Quest

One of my favorite musicals of all time is The Pirates of Penzance. It is a play that I’ve been in 3 times, once as a policeman and twice as a daughter of the Major General. My best friend Lizzie also shares the same obsession with Pirates. Especially the 1983 movie version. We can make quotes and comments about catlike tread, hailing poetry, pouring pirate sherry, and gaily treading the measure, and burst out into simultaneous song together. I’ve had other friends that love the play, such as Emily and Celeste, but nobody else has equalled my campy obsession with Pirates as Liz. And we’re not talking Jack Sparrow pirates; we’re talking singing, dancing, bumbling and squooshy-with-emotion pirates. She had posted a Facebook status update this week, referring to herself as being the “Very model of a Modern Major General”. And I replied back with “I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical, from Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.” And then we started texting back and forth about our love of the music and choreography and Rex Smith’s jewfro. Then the wheels in my head started turning, and I asked her, “Do you have it on DVD.” And she said, “I don’t think it’s even been released on DVD. I’ve got a horrible stage adaptation of it on DVD, and a discombobulated VHS version, but no DVD.”
And then my quest began. I told her, “I will do everything in my power to find this movie for you on DVD.” And she relied, “You would be the undisputed eternal queen of awesomeness.”

I NEED that title of Undisputed Eternal Queen of Awesomeness in my life. It would look good on a resume.
I’ve been researching all over the internet, and so far all I can easily find is the horrible stage adaptation on DVD. The HBO version stars Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith…and any other version is just not the same.

I plan to start a Facebook petition to HBO to release the movie on DVD, since they originally released it on VHS. But in the mean time, does anyone have a quality version of the VHS that I can rip into a DVD for Lizzie for her Christmas gift?