Rockbridge Academy Presents

Drama Program

General Information

The Rockbridge Academy drama program is designed to give students an in depth understanding of what it takes to bring a full-length musical, or musical variety production, to completion. Students learn the value of godly character, hard work, and cooperation as they go from initial auditions and read-throughs, to the final curtain, always encouraged to keep in mind standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (Php. 4:8). In addition, musical stage productions serve a distinctive role in giving "flesh" to the concept of rhetoric. Students use their talents to persuade and articulate in a way that a traditional class never could. Students are encouraged to be part of the stage crew if that is where their particular gifts and talents lie.

Typically, students perform a full-length musical, and a student-lead Variety Show, in alternating years. Last year, Rockbridge Academy performed  The Rockbridge Academy Awards: a Musical Variety Show, to rave reviews.

The Pirates of Penzance (or "The Slave of Duty")

This show is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W.S. Gilbert. The official premiere was in New York on December 31, 1879.

The story concerns Frederic who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born in Leap Year, the 29th of February and so, technically, he only has a birthday every four years, each Leap Year on February 29th. His apprenticeship states that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic's only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.

There are also other subplots at work: the Pirates, upon seeing Mabel's sisters at play, decide to capture them, so that they may then take them to the nearest clergyman and marry them on the spot. The Major General, the girls' father, saves them from this fate by claiming he is an orphan, and, as the Pirates make it a practice of never "mistreating" an orphan, they are compelled to let him go.

Ruth, Frederic's nursery maid, wants to marry Frederic but he rebuffs her after seeing the younger, more beautiful Mabel. So she teams up with the Pirates when they attack Major General Stanley's home, Tremorden Castle, after learning Major General Stanley was never an orphan. The constabulary, lead by their bumbling Police Sergeant, try to defend the castle but are easily overcome. Then the Pirates are persuaded to yield to the Police Sergeant in Queen Victoria's name, and THEN Ruth reveals that the Pirates are all "noblemen who have gone wrong." All is forgiven and Frederic and the Pirates can marry the daughters!