Theatre for Young Audiences Presents ‘Pirate’

Oklahoma Baptist University's Theatre for Young Audiences will present "How I Became a Pirate" one weekend only: Friday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 11 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for the production which will premiere in Craig-Dorland Theatre in OBU's Shawnee Hall.

The Theatre for Young Audiences invites all young school children to attend the performance, asking, "Now really, who doesn't want to be a pirate?" The production tells the story of young Jeremy Jacob. Jacob and his exceptional digging skills are recruited by Captain Braid Beard and his hornswaggelin' crew for treasure-burying purposes. Jeremy thinks the pirate life is for him -- that is, until he realizes that the simple things in life such as a kiss and a warm tucking in at night rival the thrills and adventures of the high seas. The story of adventure tells about finding one's own heart -- a path that can't be found on a treasure map.

Young pirate Jeremy Jacob (left) inspects a chest of gold dubloons with Captain Braid Beard. Jacob is played by Graham Griffin and Braid Beard is played by Eric Gay.

The Theatre for Young Audiences production has been an annual event on the OBU campus since 1993. Each spring, about 2,300 Shawnee-area students attend matinee performances of the production. OBU Theatre seeks to present plays designed to entertain and inspire younger audiences in the art of live theatre. Plays are chosen for the values in their themes, including honesty, integrity and preparing young people to recognize the good and evil of the world.

The performance will be co-directed by Laura Byland, associate professor and director of theatre who designed OBU's Theatre for Young Audiences, and Dr. Joyce Spivey Aldridge, associate professor of theatre. The role of young pirate Jeremy Jacob is shared by Micah Swedberg, a seventh-grade student from Shawnee Middle School, and Graham Griffin, a seventh-grade homeschool student. The cast includes Eric Gay, a 2009 OBU graduate, playing Braid Beard; Chad Lawson, a resident of Meeker, Okla., playing Max; Katie Tyner, a senior theatre major from Moore, Okla., playing Scurvy Dog; Lacy Hutchinson, a senior theatre major from Longview, Texas, playing Swill; Elliott Freeman, a junior anthropology major from Paola, Kan., playing Seymour; Joy Fait, a sophomore theatre major from Arvada, Colo., playing Pierre; and Trevor Mastin, a sophomore theatre major from Shawnee, playing Sharktooth.

Captain Braid Beard's crew, including young pirate Jeremy Jacob (center) realizes it's good to be home in Oklahoma Baptist University's Theatre for Young Audiences production of "How I Became a Pirate." Jacob is played by seventh-grader Micah Swedberg.

Production crew members for the performance include Dr. Aldridge as music director; Kendra Watkins, a senior from Meeker, as stage manager; Cylie Hall, a sophomore from Lindsay, Okla., as assistant stage manager and publicity manager; Chloe Stringfellow, a freshman from Calera, Okla., as publicity assistant; Josh Cain as technical director; Austin Ledbetter, a senior from Daytona Beach, Fla., as props manager; Jonathan Studstill, a senior from Arlington, Texas, as sound engineer; Rachel Raney, a sophomore from Tecumseh, Okla., as accompanist; Taunia Logan, a senior from Perryton, Texas, as costume designer; Hutchinson as make-up artist; and Katherine Wortley, a junior from Fort Smith, Ark., as house manager.

The play, "How I Became a Pirate," is based on the children's book by teacher and author Melinda Long. It was crafted by Long; Janet Vogt, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservator of Music; and Mark Friedman, a professional vocalist, actor and musician.

Tickets are on sale for $8 for adults, $6 for students and $2 for children under age 12. Located in Sarkeys Telecommunication Center, the OBU Box Office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or call (405) 878-2347.