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The Pirates of Penzance (1980)

| Comedy, Musical | TV Movie
A young man named Frederick leaves the zany band of pirates he was raised by to find true love and respectability, but when the Pirate King turns up to call on an old debt, Frederick must ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
G. Eugene Moose ...
Samuel - the Pirate King's lieutenant
Linda Ronstadt ...
Alice Playten ...
Marcie Shaw ...
Wendy Wolfe ...
Alix Korey ...
Soloist (Daughter) (as Alexandra Korey)
Robin Boudreau ...
Maria Guida ...
Nancy Heikin ...
Bonnie Simmons ...
George Rose ...
Tony Azito ...


A young man named Frederick leaves the zany band of pirates he was raised by to find true love and respectability, but when the Pirate King turns up to call on an old debt, Frederick must choose between the girl he loves and his sense of duty.

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Comedy | Musical





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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Tony Azito, Gregory Hines was originally cast as the Sergeant of Police, but pulled out to replace Richard Pryor in History of the World: Part I (1981). See more »


Version of The Pirates of Penzance (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Far better than the movie version!
16 May 2003 | by (Maplewood, MN) – See all my reviews

Thank goodness this version of Joseph Papp's "Pirates" has been unearthed and released to the public! For as lavish as the 1983 film version is, I always felt that it was lacking something....a live audience.

With the exception of Kevin Kline's performance, this live recording of the Central Park production is very charming and well worth the watch. Mr. Kline is wonderful as The Pirate King, but his performance in the 1983 version is far better. After 3 years of performing the role, he perfected it, and truly made it his own.

Reviews back in 1980 complained about Linda Ronstadt's performance as Mabel, noting her lack of acting training. I found her to be perfectly charming and quite adorable. She's a cross between Snow White and Lilian Gish...the perfect mix! She handles the vocal difficulty of the role with ease and clarity. Her upper voice is slightly improved by the time the big screen version was shot, but this early attempt is wonderful! And Mabel really doesn't have a lot of acting depth to her anyway....G & S wrote her as a parody of grand opera sopranos. Player her "straight", as Ronstadt does, and she's fabulous.

The late George Rose and the late Tony Azito are almost exact on both versions...which to me a sign of a great performer. I always heard the Rose did the entire movie version with no retakes, and I can now understand why...he's flawless. Azito could have given Ray Bolger a run for his money back in the day...the man was like rubber.! I would have loved to have seen him play the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz! Sadly both Rose and Azito were taken from us before their time. It's a great loss.

Patricia Routledge leaves Angela Lansbury in the dust in the battle for the better Ruth. Routledge actually had a character unlike Lansbury who simply played Jessica Fletcher as Ruth....serious miscasting there folks! If you are a fan of Patricia Routledge in "Keeping Up Appearances", this is a must see for you!

The video used for the DVD and VHS versions of this show is very rough. It's been digitally cleaned up a much as possible, but it is 23 years old! Only so much can be done! But it's worth the watch anyway!


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