Pirates on the New River? Ridiculous! But that's the plot for New River Buccaneers, a musical melodrama playing March 6-7 and 13-14 at 8 p.m. in Snyder Auditorium on the WCC campus. According to writer and director, Janice Pryor, “ridiculous” is just what melodramas are all about. “That's the fun of this show; it's absurd--nothing is serious!”
The story of New River Buccaneers centers around Captain Patchenhook (played by Clint Helton), a crusty old seaman, who’s ready to retire to the good life in Wytheville. He and his sidekick, Jinx (Charles Grandel), dream of opening a tavern, and as part of their quest for money to fund their plans, they’ve kidnapped Lady Wishforit (Marie Coen) and are holding her for ransom. In competition with Patchenhook are Peg (Frances Moore), who Patchenhook jilted many years ago, and her daughter Molly (Lorna King). Also out to rob Patchenhook are his former partner, Lucretia Dreadmore (Carol Easter), and Lucretia’s handsome-but-honest son Jack (Joe Burnett). Toss in one seasick heiress (Barbara Brown), a businessman (Ralph Brewer), a lost treasure, mistaken identities--and comic chaos is bound to begin.
Last spring, WCC presented another of Pryor’s plays, The Chicken Count of Wytheville. Says Pryor, “For The Chicken Count, we had great audience participation--people really got into booing and cheering, which made it even more fun for the cast. And I think it adds to the fun, that in both melodramas, the action is set in Wytheville, so there are lots of local references that may cause a chuckle.”
Putting on this production involves many hard working folks both on and off stage. In addition to the actors mentioned above are fellow cast members Michael Easter, Jacob Walker, Brinkley Hash, Jessie Moore, Kaitya Baker, Lorrainea Burcham, Tina Edwards, Savannah Shaver, Brittany Shiver, and Olivia Havens. Keeping the cast “on key” is musical arranger and accompanist Vickie Sowers, providing a “sea-worthy” set is designer and builder Roger Dean Grubb, and making sure the audience can actually see the action are lighting designer Elizabeth Smith and technician Doug Brown.
Tickets for New River Buccaneers are $5 general admission and $4 for students (anywhere) and senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the door, 30 minutes before each performance.
So if you’re looking for something to take your mind off the snow and cold temperatures, bring the whole family to see New River Buccaneers March 6-7 or 13-14 at 8 p.m. in Snyder Auditorium. For more information, please call 276-223-4795.