Riverdream, made up of the creators and producers of Riverdance, announced the casting May 12. More casting will be announced in the future. Riverdream presents the pre-Broadway world-premiere engagement of The Pirate Queen at the Chicago Cadillac Palace Theatre Oct. 3-Nov. 26.
Director Frank Galati helms the lyricist-librettist Alain Boublil and composer-librettist Claude-Michel Schönberg musical, which will boast a cast of 40 singing about a yeasty, Shakespeare-era slice of Irish history.
Block, who played Liza in The Boy From Oz and Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked, plays the title character, Grania, aka Grace O'Malley.
According to the producers, "The Pirate Queen is based on the real-life story of the legendary Irish pirate chieftain, Grace O'Malley, who led an extraordinary life as a pirate, chieftain, lover and mother in 16th century Ireland."
Produced by Moya Doherty and John McColgan, the producers of Riverdance, "this new musical combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both an historic romance and a timeless epic." At the heart of The Pirate Queen "is the story of a compelling, inspirational woman, a heroine for her time and for all time," according to the producers. "This is an Irish story with a universal appeal."
The Pirate Queen will open on Broadway in the 2006-2007 season.
The author/composer team of Boublil and Schönberg collaborated with John Dempsey (Witches of Eastwick), who is billed as co-writer of the lyrics for The Pirate Queen.
Galati won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his highly praised adaptation and direction of Steppenwolf's production of The Grapes of Wrath on Broadway. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1998 for directing the musical Ragtime.
The creative team also includes choreographer Mark Dendy (Metropolitan Opera's The Magic Flute); three-time Tony Award-winning scenic designer Eugene Lee, "who sets the scene from the deck of the ship which Grace captains, to the court of Queen Elizabeth I where the two remarkable women once met"; two-time Tony Award-winning costume designer Martin Pakledinaz; four-time Tony nominee Kenneth Posner, creating the lighting; sound designer Jonathan Deans (Ragtime); and Julian Kelly, principal orchestrator and musical director. Edgar Dobie is the executive producer.
Linda Balgord (who'll play Queen Elizabeth I) toured in Aspects of Love and was recently Madame Dindon in Broadway's La Cage aux Folles; Hadley Fraser (Tiernan), has been seen in U.K. productions of Pacific Overtures, Les Misérables, The Far Pavilions, Assassins, and more, and is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association; and Jeff McCarthy (cast as Dubhdara) may be best known for playing Officer Lockstock in Broadway's Urinetown.
Box office opens 8 AM May 19. Cadillac Palace Theatre is at 151 West Randolph Street.
Priority seating for The Pirate Queen is available for groups of 20 or more by calling (312) 977-1710, or by subscribing to the 2006-2007 Neumann Homes Broadway In Chicago Season Series by calling (877) 890-0174.
Single tickets range in price from $28-$85 and go on sale May 19 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre box office. Tickets will then go on sale at 10 AM through the Broadway In Chicago box office at 24 W. Randolph St., the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (312) 902-1400, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or online at ticketmaster.com.
For more information, visit www.thepiratequeen.com and www.broadwayinchicago.com.