Gilbert and Sullivan at the Bar

The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players are promoting their G&S FEST 2010 at NY City Center with their first-ever TV Commercial. The season, running from December 28, 2009, to January 17, 2010, has been launched in an ad featuring characters from the classic comic opera Pirates of Penzance, “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “The Mikado” and “Ruddigore.”

Pirates of Penzance in New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players commercial

A bunch of barflies are hanging out at Old Town Bar & Restaurant, New York’s oldest bar. They’re singing “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here”, the popular refrain from the 1915 American song, “Alabama Jubilee” made famous by Fred Astaire, using a tune from the Pirates of Penzance. They are joined in a choral duel by cast members in costume from the Pirates of Penzance, singing the tune’s original lyrics from the Act II song, “With Cat-Like Thread”. Also in the bar are the 3 Little Maids from The Mikado, Sir Joseph and The Captain from H.M.S. Pinafore.


The Gilbert & Sullivan Fest 2010 campaign was developed at Hofstetter+Partners/Agency212, New York by creative director/copywriter Mike Rovner, creative director /art director Jules Evenson, agency producer Ed Kleban.

Filming was shot by Company X editor turned director Barney Miller via DETOX with director of photography Aaron Phillips, graphics artist Terence Ziegler. Editing was done at Company X by Barney Miller and Robert Mead.

Working closely with NYGASP Artistic Director Albert Bergeret, Miller chose song parts that worked with the agency’s concept to bridge the lineage of the spot’s tunes. The actors and the opera singers were then gathered for recording sessions at Sugarbox Studios. Here, Bergeret directed his opera cast in the studio, and gave guidance key to maintaining the integrity of the theatrical elements.

“The goal wasn’t to parody, but to do a cute ‘what if’ scene: ‘Pirates’ characters in a contemporary setting, overhearing bar flies sing ‘Hail, Hail.’ By having the characters stay true to Sullivan’s lines, we pulled off something both entertaining and educational.”