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The Theatre is The Thing and Blackbeard Is Rocking It

The Theatre is The Thing and Blackbeard Is Rocking It


“Aye, tough mermaids are, the lot of them…” – Blackbeard

Chris Hoch and the cast of Blackbeard at Signature Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman.

It has been quite some time since the Old Town Crier has published a review of a local theatrical production. It seems to be a rare occasion when the show run dates are compatible to our print schedule, however, when we received the press release about Blackbeard we decided someone had to see the show! It is a rare occasion that the OTC publishes “press releases” but we want to give James Gardiner – the PR Guru at Signature – credit for the background content below:

“Signature Theatre is excited to present Blackbeard, a world premiere musical commissioned by Signature Theatre with book & lyrics by John Dempsey, music by Dana P. Rowe and directed by Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. Blackbeard will run from June 18th through July 14th in Signature Theatre’s MAX Theatre.

After learning he’s a wanted man by the British army, Blackbeard and his merry crew of maritime marauders embark on a fantastical journey across the globe to raise an undead pirate army from the depths of the sea.

“Blackbeard is the perfect finale to our 18/19 season,” said Eric Schaeffer. “This adventurous musical promises to be an entertaining ride. Blackbeard marks Signature’s fifth musical production by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe and we have an amazing cast and design team assembled to bring this magical story to life. As we turn the MAX Theatre into a sailing pirate ship and ocean we look forward to kicking off the summer with this hilarious and wildly original adventure for the entire family.”

The production stars Chris Hoch as Blackbeard. Hoch is joined by Rory Boyd as Roger, Maria Egler as La Mer/Morgan, Ben Gunderson as Gerrick/Maynard, Kevin McAllister as Caesar, Christopher Mueller as Kamikaza/Jack Five Fingers, Nova Y. Payton as Dominique/Sal, Lawrence Redmond as Samuel, Awa Sal Secka as Kali Maa/Shanti, and Bobby Smith as Karl.

The creative team includes Choreography by Matthew Gardiner, Musical Director and Co-Orchestrator David Holcenberg, Co-Orchestrator/Keyboard Programmer Scott Wasserman, Scenic Design by Paul Tate DePoo III, Lighting Design by Chris Lee, Costume Design by Erik Teague, Sound Design by Ryan Hickey, Wig Design by Anne Nesmith, Fight Choreography by Casey Kaleba, Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein, Assistant Stage Manager Julianne Menassian, Production Assistant Joey Blakely, and Casting by Kelly Crandall d’Amboise.”

My Thoughts


Bobby Smith (Odin) and the cast of Blackbeard at Signature Theatre. Photo by Margot Schulman.

You will laugh and you may even cry, I did. There are several very funny innuendos that you don’t want to miss so listen closely. The story line flows and the music and choreography are close to perfect. I was amazed at how the costume changes for those who played dual roles was pretty much flawless. The set design is very intricate and if you look really close you will recognize many everyday things that have been transformed into a Pirates Cove and the costuming is as authentic as it is clever. There is not one weak link in this production and I can’t say that any one performance stood out from any of the others either. Everyone was spot on. The voices in this cast are phenomenal. Usually you can find one role that really doesn’t feel like it was fulfilled, the set design has a flaw, etc. and…Signature Theatre is a small venue where you can virtually see almost everything close up and any mistake or misstep is hard to miss. I’m afraid to say much more because I want you to see the production for yourself. It will be money well spent.

FYI: I suggest you arrive early and have a Blackbeard themed cocktail or light snack at Ali’s Bar. Try the Treach’s Rum Cocktail featuring Blackbeard’s Point rum!

Four weeks only!
June 18th through July 14th
Single tickets now on sale.


Subscriptions/Groups: (703) 820-9771
Single Tickets: (703) 820-9771

Signature Theatre

4200 Campbell Avenue

Arlington, VA  22206

Blackbeard is sponsored by Bonnie Feld with additional support from Jeffrey Thurston and Charlie Berardesco. New work at Signature Theatre is sponsored by Dan and Gloria Logan


Signature is widely recognized as the premiere venue in Washington to see musical theater, especially new musicals. Recently called “a dream for patrons” and “the gold standard for producing musicals” by The Washington Post, Signature is renowned for its interpretations of Stephen Sondheim’s work, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten musicals, and investment in fresh new projects. Led by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, the theatre is an industry leader in developing and producing new work and is home to the largest musical theater development program in the United States. Signature draws more than 120,000 patrons annually to its Arlington home and has been cited for its achievements by a wide range of local and national media.

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