Performance Dates

Friday, Nov 2, 2018 @ 8:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, Nov 3, 2018 @ 8:00 PM  – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, Nov 4, 2018 @ 4:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

Season Subscription Tickets on sale now! Call CenterTix at 907-263-2787 or online CLICK HERE
(Single ticket sales begin Sept 1, 2018)

About H.M.S. Pinafore

Set sail for hysterical hi-jinks on the high seas with Gilbert & Sullivan’s beloved comedy of star-crossed lovers, mismatched marriages and mistaken identities. The captain’s daughter has caught the eye, and the heart, of two men; a lowly sailor and the pompous First Lord of the Admiralty himself. Will true love prevail? What long-held secret holds the key to happiness for all? This effervescent musical romp, overflowing with infectious tunes, jaunty dances and hilarious action, is a bitingly funny parody of class and society that still makes a modern-day splash! Leave your cares on dry land and chart a course for this beloved, light-hearted classic operetta, suitable for audiences of all ages.

In English with English Supertitles


Production Team

Chelsea MillerJosephine

John Riesen – Ralph Rackstraw

Charles Prince Conductor

Allison Grant – Stage Director

Conor McDonald – Captain Corcoran

Johnathan Hays – Sir Joseph Porter

Carrie Yanagawa – Set Designer

Cedar Cussins – Lighting Designer

Lisa Willis – Little Buttercup

Kathryn Strock – Cousin Hebe

Kyle Gantz – Dick Deadeye

Elle Janecek – Hair / Makeup Designer

Neda St. ClairChorus Master / Rehearsal Accompanist / Coach

Emily Butzi – Stage Manager



The crew of the H.M.S. Pianfore are scrubbing the decks in preparation for the arrival of their Captain when local wandering saleswoman, “Little Buttercup”, comes aboard. After meeting the misunderstood Dick Deadeye, she catches sight of another sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, who appears unhappy and whose name for some mysterious reason seems all too familiar to her…

Ralph is pining over the Captain’s beautiful daughter, Josephine but he knows that she is too far above him in social class. Captain Corcoran comes to greet his crew, and Buttercup, who is always attentive to him, notices that he too seems sad. The Captain admits that Josephine has not taken kindly to her arranged engagement with the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter. Josephine, alone, bemoans the pain of loving someone whom she cannot hope to marry, then the Captain comes to tell her that Sir Joseph will arrive that very afternoon to claim her hand in marriage. Distressed, Josephine admits that she is in love with a common sailor although she knows she cannot marry him, and the Captain is appalled.

Sir Joseph’s female relatives are greeted enthusiastically by the sailors, before he comes on board himself to examine the crew and speak to the Captain. Sir Joseph explains how he reached his high rank respite having no naval knowledge or experience, and particularly points out his hatred of bad language. The sailors argue with Dick, who takes issue with Sir Joseph’s hypocritical declaration that a British sailor is any man’s equal, excepting his own.

Josephine comes across Ralph, alone, on deck. She haughtily rejects his advances despite her inner feelings of love for him, because of her belief in distinctions of rank. This leaves Ralph alone to explain to his messmates that he intends to commit suicide because he cannot live with her rejection, but Josephine admits her love for him at the last possible moment. The crew celebrate, although Dick rebels against them, and the couple plan to elope together that night.


That night, the Captain sings of his troubles alone: Sir Joseph has threatened to court martial the Captain if Josephine will not marry him. Buttercup overhears the Captain, and tells him that she knows a change is coming and things are seldom what they seem… The Captain doesn’t understand her but feels she means well. Sir Joseph and his cousin Hebe come to tell the Captain that Josephine is refusing to marry him, to which the Captain suggests that Sir Joseph needs to reassure her that she is worthy of him because she is of a lower rank.

Alone, Josephine contemplates her dilemma: she has said she will marry Ralph but doesn’t feel ready to give up her middle class lifestyle, so she questions whether to follow her head or her heart. Sir Joseph arrives to tell her that he believes that ‘love is a platform upon which all ranks meet’ which secretly delights Josephine as it suggests she could marry Ralph, while her father and Sir Joseph are obvious to her intentions.

Dick Deadeye comes to inform the Captain that Josephine intends to elope with Ralph, and when the Captain understands, he is furious and intends to punish Ralph.

Josephine and Ralph, with the sailors, are creeping across the deck trying to get away when the Captain reveals he has been watching them, concealed. He challenges Ralph, but the Boatswain defends him, saying that Ralph, although working class, is still an Englishman (so should be considered good enough to marry Josephine). The Captain is still raging and swears ‘damme’ which is overheard by Sir Joseph and his entourage, who are outraged by the bad language. Sir Joseph sends the Captain to his cabin in disgrace, and asks Ralph why the Captain was so angry. On hearing that Ralph intended to marry Josephine, Sir Joseph is also horrified and has Ralph chained up and taken away.

Buttercup comes forward and says she wishes to confess a long concealed crime: many years ago she practiced ‘baby farming’ (wet nursing) and cared for two babies, one of low class and one of high, which she mixed up. The high born child was Ralph and the low born one the Captain, meaning that their social positions are the opposite of what they had always thought! Sir Joseph tells the former Captain that he no longer wishes to marry Josephine because he, her father, has turned out to be low born. Josephine and Ralph are delighted, the former Captain is now of a low rank in society so decides to marry Buttercup, and Sir Joseph is claimed by Hebe who wanted to marry him all along. Everyone celebrates this fortunate turn of events.

Free Pre-Opera Talks

Plan to join us one hour before each performance of H.M.S. Pinafore to learn the interesting background, tidbits of information and fascinating insights into this laugh out loud Gilbert & Sullivan favorite. We are proud to present our colleague in the arts, Michael Jungreis, as your Pre-Opera Talk Host for H.M.S. Pinafore. Michael is well-known to Anchorage audiences as the host of KLEF’s “Saturday Night at the Opera”.
Friday, Nov 2 at 7:00 pm – Discovery Theatre Parterre
Saturday, Nov 3, 2018 at 7:00 pm – Discovery Theatre Parterre
Sunday, Nov 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm – Discovery Theatre Parterre

Free Student Final Dress Rehearsal

Anchorage Opera would like to open the final dress rehearsal to K-12 students at no cost for our production of H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan on Oct 31, 2018 at 7:00 pm performed in English with projected Supertitles in English. This production will be held at The Discovery Theater, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and seating is limited. We will do our best to accommodate any K-12 student that would like to come, however some parties may receive fewer tickets than requested based on availability.

Please contact Kaylee Vardeman at 907-279-2557 or email to request your vouchers.

As this is a coveted event for many schools in the Anchorage area, please do not request more tickets than you will use. If you are promised a certain number of tickets and find you will not be able to use them all, please contact us as soon as possible so that people on the wait list can be notified and make arrangements to attend.

We hope to see a full house of  K-12 Students there! BRAVO