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'Pirates' to be topsy-turvy show

"I think this show has been a great learning experience and is one of my first fully staged roles in a while," said Shake. "I look forward to performing and hope that this will spur the audience's interest in opera and classical music. It's light opera, so it's funny, interesting, a little kitschy. My ongoing goal is always to get people interested because it seems like this is not very well recognized."

Shake's character is around 17, the youngest of several sisters, a daddy's girl, strong-willed and always gets what she wants. She's the love interest of Frederic, the main character, and Shake said twists and turns commence before they can end up together, happily ever after. Getting into the character of Mabel, said Shake, was her biggest challenge.

It was difficult to get into character, especially in the beginning because Mabel is a flighty, typical 19th century maiden, very proper. Sometimes it can be hard to relate to that because I tend not to be, or try not to be, the sort of ditzy, flighty, dependent type of woman that these girls are," said Shake. "It was difficult trying to find that and make it realistic for people."

Richard Mazzaferro plays the Pirate King, a character he said is actually a nobleman masquerading as a pirate. Trying to find the balance between these two dynamics was the trick to making a successful transformation.

"I thought about my own childhood, watching movies with my grandfather and then I'd run out in the backyard with my cousins and play pirates, but it wasn't as if I wanted to make people walk the plank or anything; and then I was happy to go home and put on my baseball uniform and go to Little League," said Mazzaferro. "So it was keeping in mind the idea that what the Pirate King really sees are all the romantic notions of being a pirate, like the wind in your hair, steward at your side, even the outfit is outlandish."

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