History of Pirated!
In the spring of 1993 the faculty of Weber State University Performing Arts Department met to consider the performing arts schedule and theatre productions for the 1993-1994 season. It had been previously discussed that they might do something historical, possibly a Gilbert and Sullivan piece. Jim Christian, head of Musical Theatre studies at the university, introduced his unique plot line of The Pirated Penzance to the faculty. Thrilled with the idea, the faculty invited Jim to stage the show as the season opener and enter it into the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival as a participating entry.
After numerous rewrites, restagings and working out the kinks, the show opened for a two week run in the fall of 1993 in the Allred Theatre of the Weber State University campus. The revues were not mixed. The show was a sensational hit with critics and audiences.
As a part of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival entry, a regional adjudicator saw the show and recommended it for the Regional Festival. Shortly after, The Pirated Penzance was invited to compete at the KC/ACTF Regional Festival in Hayward, California. The musical comedy played three performances to rave revues, stand ovations and delighted audiences.
A few weeks later The Pirated Penzance was chosen from nearly 1,000 theatre entries to be one of six shows to debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as a part of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, a coveted national honor rarely bestowed upon college theatre endeavors and the equivalent of a Tony Award on the academic. Playing at the nations capitol, The Pirated Penzance continued its fabled journey with rave revues at the Kennedy Center. Long time festival attendees said it was by far the best thing they had ever seen at the festival. Those who experienced the show were certain they would see it on Broadway the next year.
In 1996 a regional professional theatre company in Salt Lake City, Pioneer Theatre Company, collaborated with Jim Christian to give The Pirated Penzance, now titled Pirated Penzance, its World Premiere, again to delighted audiences and rave reviews.
For the next several years, Pirated Penzance was seen in a few non-professional theatres throughout the western United States.
In 2004, a New York theatrical producer optioned the rights to bring Pirated Penzance to Broadway. The name of the show has since changed to Pirated! for marketing purposes.