Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Stanford Savoyards: HMS Pinafore: The Next Generation

January 26, 2013

The Savoyards, a long-established group of Stanford alums and students, came up with a delicious idea in their mashup of Gilbert & Sullivan with the second Star Trek series. The role matchups are half the fun: imagine the gruff Klingon Worf (John Graham) playing Dick Deadeye; the luscious telepath Deanna Troi (Christina Krawec) as the luscious captain’s daughter Joesphine; the stern Jean–Luc Picard (Graham Roth) as the stern Captain Corcoran, and, naturally, the ego-assured Admiral James T. Kirk (Gerar Mazarakis) as the cluelessly confident Sir Joseph Porter.

Operating on an impressive recreation of the Enterprise’s bridge, the Savoyards took some ripe opportunities to tweak the concept further, introducing the overture with the familiar Star Trek theme and the voiceover “To boldly go where no Englishman has gone before,” and then showing two crew members faced with the task of wearing the dreaded red ensign’s uniform. Josephine sings “Sorry her lot” while holding a hot fudge sundae, and the key phrase of “Carefully on tiptoe stealing,” “It was the cat!” is quite naturally accompanied by an avalanche of Tribbles. Perhaps the most awesome idea was filling the women’s chorus (sisters, cousins and aunts) with all the alien chicks that Kirk made off with in the first series (and possibly a couple of accidental daughters).

Though the singing was, well, amateur, there were some moments: Krawec, from the university’s Opera Workshop, sang Josephine with a lovely soprano voice. Graham got a lot of laughter from his Worf/Deadeye conflation. The a capella trio of “A British tar” (Brian Chin as Riker/Ralph Rackstraw, Don Pettengill as Data/Bill Bobstay, and David Skurnick as Geordi/Bob Becket) was beautiful. Roth showed true commitment by shaving his head for a dead-on Picard look. Mazarakis did an able job with “When I was a lad” (The Captain of the Queen’s Navy song), and joined Roth and Krawec for a “Never mind the why and wherefore” which somehow devolved into a danceoff between Kirk and Picard.

The only real disappointment was in the unfulfilled possibilities of the Kirk/Sir Joseph role. Mazarakis does a decent job of working in some Shatner-like pauses, but it would take a true magician to take this joke to its ultimate fulfillment. My candidate: comedian Jimmy Fallon.

Through Feb. 2, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. (650) 725-2787,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Musical Jokes!

What to do you call a guitarist without a girlfriend? Homeless.

Who's that guy walking with the musicians? It's the drummer!

A boy came home from his first bass lesson. His dad asked him how it went. "Today we learned the E string." The boy came home from his second lesson and dad asked him how it went. "Today we learned the A string." The boy came home from his third lesson. Dad asked, "So did you learn the D string today?" "Nah. Had a gig."

How many tenors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Only one: he holds the lightbulb in place and waits for the world to revolve around him.

It takes three sopranos to screw in a lightbulb. One to screw in the bulb, one to kick out the chair, and a third to say, "I could have done it better."

How many altos does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They can't get up that high.

What's the definition of a mezzo?
A soprano who can sightread.

"An opera is a performance in which a soprano and a tenor want to make love, but are prevented from doing so by a baritone." --George Bernard Shaw

A female vocalist asks her keyboard player, "I'd like to do 'My Funny Valentine' tonight... but can you think of a way to 'jazz' it up?"
Keyboard player replies, "Sure, we can do the first chorus in G minor, then modulate to G#minor for the second chorus in 5/4 time, then modulate to A minor in 3/4 time for the bridge, then cut off the last 3 bars!"
She claims, "that might be too complicated to do without a rehearsal!"
Keyboard player responds, "Well, that's how you did it last night!"