The Magic Pinafore

On Thursday Feb. 18 Millikin’s very own “The Magic Pinafore” hit Albert-Taylor’s stage for the first time. The operetta was met with positive reactions from both students and the general public, due to its witty lyrics and talented cast. The show itself was a wonderful parody of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Magic Flute,” freely adapted by director Terry Stone.

“…our story mixes ancient ‘sorceratic’ traditions into contemporary society,” said Stone. The operetta did a great job at this. They mixed modern technology, (spell phones, the cloud, wifi), with “ancient sorceratic traditions,” (the magic pinafore and the contest) flawlessly. Stone and a group of colleagues chose to parody “The Magic Flute” after spending a large amount of time looking for operettas that would be perfect for the talent we have here at Millikin.

“We couldn’t find an operetta that we could cast very well, given the different types of voices each one of them required.” Said Terry Stone, the director of the operetta. “I know some of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas because I’ve performed in them. Why not just change the text and excerpt some of the music that’s popular from some of them and we can do our own. We can make fun of Harry Potter and make a little fun of a serious opera.”

Stone tried to “keep in the same spirit” as Gilbert and Sullivan. He rewrote the lyrics to a few of their most popular songs so that they would fit within the plot of the operetta. Audiences may have recognized music from “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Mikado,” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”

The operetta itself takes place at “The Millikado Institute of Magicke,” a college of magic that is losing money due to the lack of revenue being brought in by the College of Sorcery. The college’s chairman, Morton DeValue, is determined to have it shut down. He is convinced that magic doesn’t actually exist, (in fact, the students cast spells with “spell phones, not with their own magical powers). His goal is to “cut” the College of Sorcery in order to make more money for the Institute’s main colleges. So before the contest between the two sections of The College of Sorcery (the girls vs the boys), that decides who gets the magic pinafore, DeValue steals it. Chaos ensues as the students and their two headmasters, Sarcastro Stumbleboore and Nymphe O’Goodlove, search frantically for the pinafore. While in his office DeValue discovers the power of the magic pinafore, (the power to control others) and convinces the two headmasters that magic does not exist. The headmasters return to the students and tell them to look into other colleges. The students refuse to give up so easily and enlist the help of their maid, Lunie Muttercup, and their groundskeeper, Rube Haggard. They storm into DeValue’s office and they defeat him with an ancient device that gives unlimited spell coverage all across campus.

Students and staff alike all worked hard to put this show together. Thankfully, the show went on without a hitch. “It was a pretty smooth process,” said freshman Madison Mertz, who played sorcery student Lotte Umbrage. “Terry is a hoot and a half, he knows what he wants.”  A special thanks goes out to Dr. William Gorton for reducing the score of the original three operettas that were sampled so that the music would flow smoothly and would be able to be played by a sixteen-person orchestra instead of a full one. Overall the operetta was a huge success. It was funny and witty, the music and vocals were amazing, and Stone’s lyrics were perfectly melded to the original pieces.