The Pirate Queen of Broadway

The Irish Times has a short piece[subs req] on the musical The Pirate Queen, opening in Chicago, October 2006, as does the Chicago Sun-Times, and BroadwayWorld, although the claim that Grace O’Malley has been written out of history will come as a surprise to those who voted the sixteenth century pirate as Ireland’s Fifth Greatest Woman earlier this year. ANYway, leaving aside the claims of the promoters – “personifies the universal spirit of independence and rebellion against oppression”? – the production is some way off [but you can book your tickets already] and it seems Dublin was briefly considered for the premiere before they wisely decided on Chicago. It looks more likely to fly than On Eagle’s Wing, that’s for sure.. perhaps the promoters should also sign up one of Grace’s modern-day descendants to review the show?From the Irish Times, the other reports are subscription free –

The Pirate Queen, which will feature a cast of 40, will open in Chicago in October next year before moving to Broadway a few months later.

Produced by Moya Doherty and John McColgan, the musical will tell the story of the pirate, also known as Gráinne Uaile, who led a band of pirates from Galway and became chieftain of the O’Malley clan.

“Grace O’Malley has been, more or less, written out of history, but she has lived on in song and story to become an Irish heroine and icon, a symbol of resistance down the ages. We are proud to reintroduce Grace to the world,” Mr McColgan said yesterday at a press conference in Chicago.

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg, whose Les Misérables will soon be the longest-running musical in British theatre history, said they were proud to celebrate the life of the Irish pirate queen.

“This unsung Irish heroine is truly a modern woman in period costume, a born political leader with a passionate love life. Bringing her story to the stage has been for us an emotional journey of discovery and a fascinating new challenge,” they said.

The show’s promoters were coy yesterday about the size of the production’s budget but Ms Doherty and Mr McColgan have already hired Frank Galati, a Tony award-winning Broadway director and choreographer Mark Dendy.

“We are very proud to have assembled this truly international team, who are all the best in their fields, to tell this remarkable story,” Ms Doherty said.