Lauded ‘Pirates’ Makes a Return Voyage

Pirates PetalsWestmont’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” which will be performed for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, returns to Porter Theatre Feb. 22-23 at 7 p.m. General admission is $15; $10 for students and seniors. A $25 special benefit ticket entitles the buyer to the play and a dessert reception with the cast, following each encore performance. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (805) 565-7140.

Westmont’s play was chosen for the regional festival and will be performed on Feb. 14 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Los Angeles Theatre Center. The regional festival is the highest honor, outside the national festival, that a college or university program can attain.

It is one of seven productions, out of nearly 50 participating shows, to be considered for the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Cast members Connor Bush (The Major General), Ben Offringa (Frederic) and Paige Tautz (Ruth) were selected to participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition, vying for regional scholarships and possible invitations to the Kennedy Center National Finals. Moreover, Andrew Combs (conductor) and Kelsey Pollard (stage manager) received Meritorious Achievement Awards for their work in the play.

The production, directed by theater arts professor John Blondell, includes Michael Shasberger (musical director), Danila Korogodsky (visiting scenographer from Cal State Long Beach), Victoria Finlayson (choreographer), Jonathan Hicks (visiting lighting designer and Huntington University in Indiana alumnus), Miller James (costume designer), and Robert Hamel (technical director).

Blondell will also direct “Bread,” written by California Institute of the Arts student Michael Yichao, Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. as part of the Kennedy Center’s Ten-Minute Play Festival. “It’s a coming-of-age story,” Blondell says. “I’ll be able to choose the actors, rehearse it two or three times and then stage it as a reading.”