Sunday, January 12, 2014
JT and the Pirates
I loved working on this show. Back in the summer of 1995, if memory serves, my friend and fellow Children's Theater Director undertook a truly crazy project.
We had already directed a few children's theater productions. We started with "The Princess and the Magic Pea." This was a typically dull children's play -- and the show was co-directed by another buddy of ours, Tim. He knew that the script was lacking, to say the least, so he asked me to add a couple jokes here and there. (And I believe we tossed in some songs from "Once Upon a Mattress.")
Anyway, we pulled the show together, and had a fun time in the process.
Or actually, if I remember more correctly, we were miserable during the process, but had such a good time after the show opened, we conveniently forgot about all the hard stuff. Anyway, long story longer, Josh and I directed subsequent children's shows, but this time, we wrote our own stuff. The first was "Aladdin and Company," followed by "Sleeping Beauty and the Beast." The shows were successful enough that we wanted to become co-producers. Instead of being paid a stipend, we wanted to risk our fee for whatever profit we made.
And that's when Josh and I came up with the idea to create a Pirate Musical. And oh, it was gloriously ambitious. It was called, "A Pirate's Story." And we had lots of great kids. Lots of funny characters... and about four too many songs (a couple slow ones really should have been cut -- but that;s show-biz). "A Pirate's Story" wasn't perfect -- it needed some trimming here and there, but we didn't have the heart to cut the kids' parts since they had worked so hard. But flaws and all, it was our most financially profitable show.
Eventually, when I my work began to be published by Eldridge Plays, I revised "A Pirate's Story." I took away the songs, making it a non-musical. (A single tear rolls down his cheek.) Actually, I did more than take away the songs -- I rewrote almost every line of dialogue and trimmed lots of scenes, and took away characters, and added other scenes. This was actually a breakthrough for me, because before this manuscript, I HATED revising and would avoid it as much as possible.
I made a script called, "Jenny and the Pirates." The folks at Eldridge loved it, but liked the idea of creating a more masculine title. And so, it became "JT and the Pirates." Of all the shows I've written, it's probably one of the most original. It's not a spoof of anything. It's not an adaptation. It's quite unique, if I say so myself. Oh, and I forgot to mention, even though I took out the songs, I kept a River Dance!