Variety reported Nov. 6 that following the mixed reviews of the current world-premiere engagement of the romantic, historical musical at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, two new songs are being explored, and changes to the book and choreography are afoot.
The lavish musical about Shakespeare-era Irish Chieftain Grace O'Malley comes with a promising pedigree: The writer and composer created Les Misérables and Miss Saigon; the director is Tony Award winner Frank Galati (The Grapes of Wrath); the producers Moya Doherty and John McColgan were behind the international sensation Riverdance.
"The framework of what we have we're happy with," Doherty told Variety. "It's the order in which we tell the story, and giving the audience more back-story, that we'll continue to work on."
Variety reported that the show's November box-office take in Chicago is expected to be $900,000 a week.
Previews began at the Cadillac Palace Oct. 3, leading to an Oct. 29 opening. It closes in Chicago Nov. 26. The troupe jumps back into rehearsals in January toward a March 2, 2007, first preview at Broadway's Hilton Theatre. It opens April 5.
The cast of 42 includes Stephanie J. Block (as Grace O'Malley), Hadley Fraser (Tiernan), Linda Balgord (Queen Elizabeth I), Marcus Chait (Donal), Jeff McCarthy (Dubhdara) and William Youmans (Bingham).
According to the producers, "The Pirate Queen is an epic musical adventure celebrating the legendary Irish Chieftain Grace O'Malley. Based on her real-life story, The Pirate Queen tells of a compelling, inspirational woman; a heroine who led an extraordinary life as a pirate, chieftain, lover and mother in 16th century Ireland."
The Pirate Queen is based upon the novel "Grania-She King of the Irish Seas" by Morgan Llywelyn.
The creative team also includes choreographer Mark Dendy (Taboo, MTC's The Wild Party, Metropolitan Opera's The Magic Flute); John Dempsey (Witches of Eastwick) who has co-written the lyrics; Julian Kelly, principal orchestrator and musical director; three-time Tony Award winner Eugene Lee (Wicked), scenic designer; two-time Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz (Kiss Me, Kate), costume designer; four-time Tony nominee Kenneth Posner (Wicked), lighting design; sound designer Jonathan Deans (Ragtime). Also contributing are Carol Leavy Joyce (Irish dance step choreography), J. Steven White (fight director), Paul Rubin (aerial design), Paul Huntley (wig design), Angelina Avallone (make-up design), Howard Werner (projection design), Greg Meeh (special effects), Tara Young (associate director), Rachel Bress (associate choreographer), Peter Lamb (production manager).
For more information, visit www.thepiratequeen.com.