Saturday, November 04, 2006

Riverdance Meets Romance

Sailing our way is the new Broadway play "The Pirate Queen" starring Stephanie J. Block(Mary Jane in "The Dead" at the Kennedy Arts Center and Baby Love in "The Grass Harp" at the Pasadena Playhouse, Elphaba in "Wicked"), Hadley Fraser and Linda Balgord, with book and a lush score by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg("Miss Saigon" and "Les Miserables"). The play's website showcases "Sail to the Stars" and Producer and Creative Director John McColgen says of the score, "It is an extraordinary musical score....gutsy and windy and full of tempest and love and longing and ardor and passion and mystery and majesty...all of those aspects of the human adventure are a part of this musical force."

"The Pirate Queen" saw its world premiere at the Chicago Cadillac Palace Theatre on October 3 and will play there until November 26, before coming to Broadway's Hilton Theatre in preview on March 6, 2007, opening April 5th. It is the story of 16th-Century pirate chieftain, leader, warrior, twice-married, mother, skilled negotiator, and foe of Tudor England, Granuaile O'Malley, based on the novel Grania - She King of the Irish Seas by Morgan Llywelyn. O'Malley lived from 1530-1603 and sailed off the northwest coast of Ireland, besting ships from England, France and Spain. She was a gifted mariner and bold leader of men in an era when women didn't normally pursue those occupations.

The play is directed by Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati("The Grapes of Wrath," "Ragtime"), with musical direction by Julian Kelly("Riverdance"). It's brought to us by the Riverdream team of Moya Doherty and John McColgen of "Riverdance."

The website is fascinating, with historical notes by Anne Chambers(Granuaile: Ireland's Pirate Queen (Grace O'Malley) 1530-1603) and a vlog(video log) by the cast and crew on comcast. Like "Rent" the show has developed Blockheads and Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O'Malley. The vlog is updated on a regular basis, so you can keep track of the show as it sails toward us. Tony Awards, anyone?

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, WGR

1 comment:

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