The Clark State Community College Theatre Arts Program will present “The Last Pirates of the Vast Golden Treasure,” an original musical-comedy written by Dan Hunt, technical director at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.
The tale follows an inept band of pirates who find a note in a bottle, stumbling and singing through an adventure to aid maidens in distress, defeat evil forces, free the kingdom’s true ruler and maybe even find treasure.
“With a new musical, the canvas starts blank,” said Hunt. “No other performer has ever attempted to bring this character to life. All too often in musicals, a character is created the first time, and performers who follow use that first performance as a reference point for their performance. It's like getting a head start. There are no head starts here. It is an original character in an original musical. Very exciting!”
“Pirates” is Hunt’s second theatrical piece. In 2010, he penned “Flash” which was also a hit with Theresa Lauricella, associate professor and program coordinator for Clark State’s Theatre Arts programs.
“It’s a challenging opportunity for students to develop a character from scratch, especially in a musical because the songs are brand new, and there isn’t a cast recording to listen to,” she said.
The cast of “Pirates” is comprised of 36 actors total; half of those are students. The crew is also comprised of students.
Clark State student Zach Roberts will play the part of Pirate Earl in “The Last Pirates of the Vast Golden Treasure.” He said performing in “Pirates” is a truly incredible and challenging experience because it is an entirely original show. “Most new musicals and plays have some sort of base material - a book, a film - and are just adapted for the stage, but Dan Hunt has created a wholly original piece, and it is refreshing,” said Roberts. “There is no production history, cast recordings, Broadway reviews to influence your performance--it's all up to you.”
Roberts said what makes it really special is the group collaboration. “People get to showcase their creativity when they come up with a funny way to say a line or move a certain way,” he said. “We get the chance to flesh these characters out for the first time, and it has been so fun to see the show come along--what an experience to be able to go to rehearsal every night and just see what new thing will happen.”
“The Last Pirates of the Vast Golden Treasure” will be presented at 8 p.m. April 6-7 and 2 p.m. April 8 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Avenue in downtown Springfield.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased through ticketmaster.com or at the Clark State Performing Arts Center box office: (937) 328-3874. Admission is free for Clark State students with a student ID.