Winter Park " Grand Theatre Co. the second ever to produce ‘How I Became a Pirate’ |

Winter Park " Grand Theatre Co. the second ever to produce ‘How I Became a Pirate’

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News
Courtesy photo

The Grand Theatre Co. is pleased to present Grand County audiences with “How I Became A Pirate,” the company’s second play of the summer season. The show, a musical comedy that takes a look at the life of a pirate, starts tonight in Winter Park and runs throughout the summer.

The “swashbuckling musical” is an adaptation based on the best-selling book by Melinda Long and David Shannon and has been a favorite book for company co-owner Kimberlee Nanda to read to her and husband Tanny’s son. Tanny will be donning the captain’s hat as director.

“I am so excited to be opening ‘How I Became A Pirate’ this week,” Kimberlee said. She contacted Long about staging a show based on the story and found out a show was already in the works at the Emerald City Theatre Company in Chicago. The Nandas then contacted the Emerald City Theatre Co. and now the Grand Theatre is the second theater ever to produce the brand new production.

“The adaptation was created by two people who are passionate about theater and about the book, so the end product is something to be proud of,” Tanny said of Alyn Cardarelli (book and lyrics) and Steve Goers (who wrote the music for the play). Goer is a Grammy-nominated composer whose music “really captures the book” and with the talents of both men Tanny predicts that the show “is going to go very far.”

When choosing a show Tanny says he looks at it “under heavy scrutiny from both a director’s and an audience member’s stand point.” After he read the script and the music, he said he “knew this show was going to be spectacular.”

The production, rated G, provides an entertaining, colorful story for the entire family, with high energy throughout. Pirates greet patrons before the show, spinning yarns, displaying their sword and dagger skills, and sharing their secret pirate handshake (as parents are asked to close their eyes).

The show sets sail after the pirates receive a final “aargh-off” from the audience with a friendly competition. Kids and parents are then introduced to Braid Beard, whose crew invites newbie Jeremy Jacob to join their voyage.

Sea chanteys, pirate talk, and of course buried treasure await the ship, its crew, and the audience as the stage takes everyone into the big blue. Character Jacob, who jumped right into the challenge, soon knows everything about being a pirate.

“He throws his food across the table and his manners to the wind,” Kimberlee said.

“He hollers like thunder and laughs off bedtime. It’s the heave-ho, blow-the-man-down, very best time of his life.”

The cast list includes Dylan M. Cox as Captain Braid Beard, Sam Tucker as Jeremy Jacobs, Jesse Iacovetto as Stubby Barbossa, Middle Park High School 2008 graduate JP Lacouture (who performed in MPHS’ production of Cyrano recently) as Jacque LaToe, MPHS 2007 graduate Justin Trygg as “Wheezing” Stephen McGee, Calah Beck as Milt Skeeter, Kimberlee as Enrico Hatchetback, Shelby Mitchell as Butch the Ochre, and Tanny as Shoutin’ Burt Smythe (as well as being the director and in charge of lights and sound).

The play is sure to make waves and many performances are already sold out. Patrons are encouraged to reserve their tickets early. Following tonight’s opening show, future performances are scheduled June 25 and 28, July 3, 6, 11, 16, 19, 24 and 27; and Aug. 1, 6, 9, 14, 20 and 23.

“How I Became A Pirate” intertwines with the Grand Theatre Company’s first summer show, “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s,” which opened last Friday. Performances are scheduled June 21, 26 and 29; July 9, 12, 17, 20, 25 and 31; and Aug. 2, 7, 10, 15, 21 and 24.

Tanny says the show, a “fast and furious comic romp,” has had the audiences rolling.

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