Two centuries ago some French and Argentinian buccaneers spilled dozens of marvedies, or Spanish silver, in the sand of Refugio Beach. From that cove just north of Goleta, they planned their raid on the Old Mission. That’s already more pirate lore for Santa Barbara than you would have discovered in the quiet British village of Penzance. When Gilbert and Sullivan wrote their comic operetta they had an inside joke: the real pirates they feared were not seafaring thieves but American bootleggers who sold unlicensed versions of their songs in the States. So the composers opened Pirates of Penzance in New York, printing the songs in the U.S. themselves before American publishers could steal their librettos from the London stage.
John Blondell, with the help of Michael Shasberger, has brought those songs to the forefront in Westmont's new rendition of Pirates. Letting go of some of the cartoonish mannerisms that have often defined the show, they turn it into "a kind of house concert" in Porter, at once rousing and intimate. To celebrate their show, I have snuck a few pirates into this report.
Of course, there are many honorable persons in here as well. Starting this month, with each report I will be acknowledging one of the five faculty members—Glenn Town, Curt Whiteman, Judy Alexandre, David Marten, and Sue Savage—who have chosen to retire in May. I am also pleased to say that we have appointed three students as "Provost’s Fellows." Peter Matthews, Leah Sadoian, and James Sievers will be helping with various projects for our office, including assisting with these reports. I look forward to working with them.