Cal Lutheran presents epic 'Pirate Queen'

Cal Lutheran presents epic 'Pirate Queen'

Anna Demaria is Queen Elizabeth I and Bridget De Maria is the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – March 26, 2019) The departments of music and of theater and dance at California Lutheran University are joining forces to present "The Pirate Queen," an epic musical adventure featuring two powerful women of the 16th century. 

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. nightly from Thursday, April 11, through Saturday, April 13, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14, in the Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. 

Based on the true story of Grace O’Malley, an Irish chieftain and notorious female pirate who ruled much of western Ireland, the action-filled tale follows O’Malley as she leads her people and fights for her love, her family and Ireland. Another powerful woman, Queen Elizabeth I of England, is also at the center of the play, with O’Malley confronting her to plead for the rights of her people.

Assistant professor and professional costume designer Noelle Raffy coordinated more than 300 pieces for the 29 actors. Assistant professor Andrea Heilman designed a set that transforms from a galley ship to the court of England, an Irish tavern, a country chapel and the rugged terrain of western Ireland.

Written by the same team behind "Les Misérables" and "Miss Saigon," "The Pirate Queen" has a sweeping score that includes the evocative traditions of Irish folk song and dance. There is little spoken dialogue. The cast began rehearsing the score with musical director Heidi Vass in October. Jessica Helms conducts.

Joell Poppen with the O’Connor School of Irish Dancing in Newbury Park taught steps to the cast and helped Jeff Wallach with choreography. Jason Rennie, Kingsmen Shakespeare Company associate artistic director, choreographed the many fights.

"The play feels almost Shakespearean with an epic story featuring humor, pageantry, dance, stage-filling sword fights and memorable characters, but it addresses contemporary issues," said stage director Michael J. Arndt, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department. "Women still fight to be accepted in traditional male roles and weigh the importance of romance, marriage and motherhood with career goals."  

Bridget De Maria of Rossmoor plays O’Malley. Anna Demaria of Ventura is Queen Elizabeth I, Jordan Erickson of Thousand Oaks is English Lord Bingham and William Pena of Santa Maria is O’Malley’s father, Dubdhara. Waqar Ahmed of Folsom and Eugenio Frew of San Francisco play male leads Tiernan and Donal. 

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the Civic Arts Plaza box office. Prices range from $15 to $30. The Civic Arts Plaza is located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. For more information, contact Natalie Helton at 805-493-3452. 

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