By Mark Harris
On Oct. 14, the first Saturday performance of the Pittsburgh Savoyards production of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, resident Music Director Guy Russo has revealed the identity of the secret special guest playing Sir Joseph Porter on select days: himself.
As the crew of the Pinafore and Sir Joseph’s gaggle of sisters, cousins, and aunts eagerly awaited his arrival onboard, the entrance music simply repeated over and over again with no Sir Joseph to be seen. The audience began to mirror the confusion of the characters onstage until the spotlight fell on Russo.
Looking up, Russo passed the baton to Assistant Conductor Eddie Leonard, threw on his admiral jacket and hat, walked up onstage to the sound of ecstatic applause, and with grace and authority proceeded to make sure everyone in the room knew that he was the “Monarch of the Sea” that night.
Russo’s performance of the iconic Gilbert and Sullivan role was established as a special treat for the company’s celebration of 80 seasons of bringing Gilbert and Sullivan performances to the Pittsburgh Area.
Those who missed Russo’s performance can see him perform the role on Thursday Oct. 19 at 8pm and Friday Oct. 20 at 8pm. Tickets can be bought online or at the door. A special rate is offered to online buyers for the Thursday night performance. For online-only ticket purchases, theatre-goers will receive $5 off of their ticket.