Rob Berdahl ’90 Captains Guthrie Theatre’s H.M.S. Pinafore

Posted on June 27th, 2011 by

Robert Berdahl '90

As Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore drops anchor on the Guthrie Theatre Stage June 18 – August 28, 2011, she will be captained by Twin Cities actor/vocalist Robert O. Berdahl ’90. Guthrie Artistic Director Joe Dowling directs this summer’s hit musical which features Berdahl as Captain Corcoran and Christina Baldwin as Little Buttercup. Joining the pair will be Constantine Germanacos (Ralph Rackstraw), Seri Johnson (Cousin Hebe), Heather Lindell (Josephine), Jason Simon (Dick Deadeye) and J. Tyler Whitmer (Bob Becket) – all five making their Guthrie debuts – in addition to Robb McKindles (Bill Bobstay) and Peter Thomson (Sir Joseph Porter). Guthrie favorite Barbara Bryne (Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George, Hay Fever, Into the Woods) hops aboard for a special appearance as Queen Victoria, courtesy of new material by Jeffrey Hatcher.

With its infectious songs, witty libretto and lighthearted satire, this Gilbert and Sullivan H.M.S. Pinafore is among the most crowd-pleasing comic musicals in history and is destined to make the Guthrie this summer’s favorite port of call. Remembered for its dynamite songs, gleefully entertaining story and saucy satire, H.M.S. Pinafore is full of pure joy and sensational entertainment, perfect family entertainment for all ages!

The story of the Pinafore takes place aboard the British ship, where Captain Corcoran’s (Berdahl) daughter, Josephine (Lindell), has fallen in love with an ordinary sailor, Ralph Rackstraw (Germanacos). As the crew works to get things shipshape for the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter (Thomson), Corcoran’s choice for a more sophisticated suitor for his daughter, Josephine decides initially to abide by her father’s wishes and marry him. Conventional social order is quickly overturned, however, when Sir Joseph arrives and advocates for the equality of humankind. With a change of heart, however, Josephine declares her love for the ordinary sailor and the two – through the help of the crew, sisters, cousins and aunts – make plans to elope that night. When the captain discovers the plot, a surprise disclosure, as is typical of many Gilbert and Sullivan’s works, changes things dramatically.

With theatre roles as varied as Jay Gatsby (Great Gatsby), Lysander (Midsummer Nights Dream) and Smudge (Forever Plaid), Rob Berdahl has become a Guthrie favorite and made his mark on the Twin Cities’ theatre scene. His face and voice may be best remembered for his long-running role as Hugh Butternut in Forever Plaid which played both locally and across the nation. In recent years, Rob has expanded his acting career and ventured into the world of commercials and movies earning Best Actor honors at the 2010 Indy Horror Film Festival for his work in the Director Brian Forrest’s movie Bind.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore began preview performances on June 18, opens on June 24 and continues through August 28, 2011, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $29 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at

Click here to read the Star Tribune’s review of H.M.S. Pinafore.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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