Stephanie J. Block Is The Pirate Queen;
New Show By Les Miz Writers Sets Sail in Fall
By Kenneth Jones
12 May 2006

Stephanie J. Block
photo by Aubrey Reuben
Stephanie J. Block, Linda Balgord, Hadley Fraser and Jeff McCarthy will play principal roles in The Pirate Queen, the new musical by the creators of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon.

Riverdream, made up of the creators and producers of Riverdance, announced the casting May 12. More casting will be announced in the future. Riverdream presents the pre-Broadway world-premiere engagement of The Pirate Queen at the Chicago Cadillac Palace Theatre Oct. 3-Nov. 26.
Director Frank Galati helms the lyricist-librettist Alain Boublil and composer-librettist Claude-Michel Schönberg musical, which will boast a cast of 40 singing about a yeasty, Shakespeare-era slice of Irish history.
Block, who played Liza in The Boy From Oz and Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked, plays the title character, Grania, aka Grace O'Malley.
According to the producers, "The Pirate Queen is based on the real-life story of the legendary Irish pirate chieftain, Grace O'Malley, who led an extraordinary life as a pirate, chieftain, lover and mother in 16th century Ireland."
Produced by Moya Doherty and John McColgan, the producers of Riverdance, "this new musical combines classic storytelling and a sweeping score, with the powerful, vibrant traditions of Irish dance and song, to create a modern musical event that is both an historic romance and a timeless epic."
At the heart of The Pirate Queen "is the story of a compelling, inspirational woman, a heroine for her time and for all time," according to the producers. "This is an Irish story with a universal appeal." The Pirate Queen will open on Broadway in the 2006-2007 season.