Get ready for a wildly comic ride as three lovely ladies are cursed by a soggy old sea hag to live as pirates on a tropical isle. When their tiny ship, the Michele Lee, arrives on the island, the beauties discover three handsome princes who have fallen under a similar curse! All six are in search of a magical unicorn who can provide them with a potion that could set everything right again. Their antics, foibles, and foolery provide for a host of swashbuckling songs and situations, blunders, plunders, and happy endings. The story spills from the stage into the aisles, allowing for clever interactions with the audience in the true spirit of the panto. Yo ho!
A salty old fisherman, Morton, greets the audience (“Yo Ho, Yo Ho!”) with a tackle box full of sight gags, zingers, and one-liners. Finally, he tells the tale of Lady Bonny, Lady Katie, and Lady Mary. As the fanciful women attempt to display who among them is the most lovely, they come face to face with Sponge Bag, a sea hag who challenges their vanity and curses them to live their lives as pirates. With a wave of her hand, the ladies are transformed and will only become fine and fair again once they find a magical milk located on a tropical island. The lady pirates are up for the challenge and sail on (“Yo Ho, Yo Ho! Reprise”)!
Morton returns, now presenting three handsome princes: Prince Phillip Delight, Prince Alexander of Brandy, and Prince Stephen of King. As they gaze into mirrors, the preening princes boast and brag in trying to decide which is most handsome. Alas, the sea hag appears— but this time it is Soggy Susan (twin sister of Sponge Bag)! The hag concocts a curse that sends the three princes to a deserted island where only uncovering the magical milk will make things right. In an instant, the three men are island bound!
There on the island, our three lady pirates have already arrived. As they bake in the tropical sun, they sing about their former frilly selfs (“A Pirate is a Lady.”). In a series of entrances and exits, the princes and the pirates continually miss seeing each other, yet each group senses and fears someone else on the island. When Prince Stephen (or Steve as he likes to be called) happens upon a map, things are looking up for the royals (“We’re Off to Find the Treasure”)!
Following clues and footprints, the princes spy the pirates! An innocent kick in the pants leads to a series of sight gags, pratfalls (“In the Boo-tay”), and eventually a head-on meeting between the guys and gals. The pirates have not only found the princes, but they also have discovered a map of their own! Who will follow the map and find the magic milk first? Thanks to surprise visits from both Sponge Bag and Soggy Susan (and some interaction with audience members), the maps are magically altered, no longer showing the way to the milk. Now, only the image of a unicorn (“Unicorn”) appears on the map. How will our pirates and princes reverse their spells now?
When Act II begins, it’s every pirate and prince for his or herself as they scour the island in search of a unicorn (“The Act Two Opener”). A series of chance meetings proves love is in the air; Lady Katie is not only in search of the unicorn, but she also has feelings for Prince Alexander, Lady Bonny flirts with Prince Phillip, and Lady Mary is clearly lovestruck with Prince Steve. But love or no love, they must all find the unicorn who may help cure the curse!
At the lair of the unicorn, they meet Starburst, who reveals he is not magical— he’s simply practical (“Unicorn Jingle”). Giving each of them bits of practical advice, countless puns, and confusing business cards, his final words of wisdom are “ask the audience!”
The pirates and princes unite with a member of the audience to decipher the unicorn’s cards and solve the mystery. But Sponge Bag and her twin Soggy Susan interfere again. Using her clever wit, and thinking most practically, Lady Mary defies the hags and indeed finds the magic milk, thus learning, growing, and bringing forth a happy ending for one and all (“Pirate Schmirate”).
Kids love pirates—and so will you!
Lady Bonny – A grand lady of royal blood, who is turned into “Captain Bonny,” a fierce pirate.
Lady Katie – A lovely lady full of fancy, who is turned into “Calico Kate,” a clever pirate.
Lady Mary – A sweet, innocent lady who becomes “Red Mary,” a silly pirate with a red beard.
Prince Phillip Delight – A smart, handsome, and dashing prince.
Prince Alexander of Brandy – A handsome and clever prince.
Prince Stephen of King – A handsome and rather particular prince.
Morton* – A salty old fisherman.
Sponge Bag* – A very silly sea hag.
Soggy Susan* – Another silly sea hag, twin sister to Sponge Bag.
Starburst* – A practical unicorn.
*Casting Note: These roles were performed by one actor to great comic effect, though they may be played by four actors.
Setting: In and around the deep blue sea, multiple locations.
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Whether it's Captain Hook in Peter Pan or Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, children find sea-faring crooks to be irresistibly funny rather than sinister, so the new Pantochino musical Pirate Schmirate! has a built-in audience.
"I think it's the sense of adventure that appeals to kids. It's another world and they never think pirates will get them," writer and director Bert Bernardi said of the Pantochino production running through Sunday, March 28 to 30, at the Milford Center for the Arts.
"The show is very, very silly. We throw in everything but the kitchen sink. And we have a lot of audience involvement in this show," Bernardi said.
Pantochino does all original productions. Bernardi said he has been wanting to do a pirate show for a long time in the tradition of the rowdy British genre of family theater that gave his company its name— panto.
"I thought I'd go back to what I do best— a totally outlandish show. I didn't worry about where it was going when I wrote it— I just had fun with it," he said of the mash-up of different pirate lore and plenty of anachronistic modern-day elements.
Composer Justin Rigg has supplied Pirate Schmirate! with what Bernardi describes as "old sea shanteys with a pop feeling. They are really catchy and there's one that I guarantee everyone will go out singing."
When asked what has been the secret of his long-time success in children's theater, Bernardi said, "I've been very lucky. There's not really a formula that I use. I'm just happy to continue to get crazy ideas for shows, and I've been lucky to work with talented actors and composers who all get what I'm doing.”–Joe Meyers, Connecticut Post
“In a word association test, the name Bert Bernardi would render an immediate "hilarious children's theater.” A master of pun and wit, Bert is a creative force that keeps on coming up with great family fun. Some of his clever original productions have been staged in New Haven, but his brand new family musical comedy will debut Pirate Schmirate! on March 21 at the Center for the Arts on Railroad Ave. in downtown Milford. It's worth following this highly imaginative wiz.
If you have never attended a Bert Bernardi show, it's time your discovered one. It is a family show that will have parents laughing as much as the children.” –Joanne Greco Rochman, Waterbury Republican-American
Materials: Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production. They can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Pirate Schmirate! includes: