The Croswell Opera House will hoist the Jolly Roger and sail off to adventure with “How I Became a Pirate,” a children’s musical that opens March 4.
Based on the popular book series by Melinda Long, the musical is about a child who joins up with a band of friendly, bumbling pirates. Director Chris Sancho said it’s a funny and interactive show, with the action taking place in the aisles as well as on stage.
“It’s your own pirate adventure,” Sancho said. “You’re not just a spectator, you’re a participant in the show.”
Young fans of the book will notice a few differences in the Croswell’s production. For one thing, the books are about a young boy named Jeremy Jacob. But during auditions for the show, Sancho was so struck by the energy and comic ability of 11-year-old actress Carson Pickles that she knew she had found the perfect lead — so Jeremy became Jenny.
“She’s wonderful and spunky and vibrant and alive,” Sancho said.
And besides, she said, “girls can go pirating as well.”
In the musical, young Jenny is playing in the back yard of her family’s beach house when the pirates notice what a good digger she is. They need someone to help them bury their treasure, so they recruit Jenny to join their band.
The pirates’ leader, Captain Braid Beard, is played by Mark Hyre of Tecumseh.
“Think the skipper from ‘Gilligan’s Island,’” Sancho said. “He really tries to command his pirates, but he’s so bumbling that he’s less authoritative and more loveable.”
The pirate crew also includes Robert Yoman of Petersburg as Pierre, whom Sancho described as “Louis XIV meets Pepe Le Pew”; Jesse Montie of Tecumseh as first mate Seymour Braunschwagger; and Kevin Smith of Monroe as Sharktooth, who tries to be dark and menacing with his pirate eyepatch, but is “really just a sensitive guy.” Jacqueline Adams of Adrian, Jolie Bailey of Jasper and Alexandra June of Adrian play Patty, LaVerne and Maxene — yes, the names were taken from the Andrews Sisters — who carry around a stuffed parrot they don’t realize isn’t real. Finally, Diane DuRussel of Manchester plays Scurvy Dog, the ship’s second mate, and Scotland Mills of Adrian is a mad-scientist type named Swill.
“Pirate packs” with a bandana, eyepatch and temporary tattoo will be on sale for $5 at the concession stand for kids who want to play along with the story or have a souvenir to take home.
The show will be as fun for adults as it is for children, Sancho said, because while it’s a children’s story, there are plenty of pop-culture jokes for parents to enjoy.
“And besides,” Sancho added, “who doesn’t want to play on a pirate ship?”
“How I Became a Pirate” opens March 4 and runs for two weekends. The first weekend has shows at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the Saturday show being a sensory-friendly production specially adapted for children with autism or sensory processing issues. The second weekend has shows at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $10-$15 for adults and $5 for youth 15 and under. To buy tickets, click here or call 517-264-7469.
If you go
- What: “How I Became a Pirate”
- Where: The Croswell Opera House, 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian
- When: Friday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 6, at 2:30 p.m.; Friday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 13, at 2:30 p.m.; plus a special sensory-friendly performance at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5.
- Admission: $10-$15 for adults, $5 for youth 15 and under.