TO BE A PIRATE Swashbuckles in Turnersville

by Jessica Martin

Have you or any of your kids ever dreamed of being a pirate? This doesn’t exclude women; there have been female buccaneers in history, and there certainly are in TO BE A  PIRATE, the original musical produced by Aftershock Entertainment at the Wedgwood Country Club in Turnersville. Multi-talented Joshua Kurtz wrote the book, music and lyrics and also co-directed along with Logan Kauffeld. Kurtz’s sister, Hilary Kurtz, choreographed the imaginative dances.

The play takes place at a time when there were still pirates, but not many. The would-be swashbuckler is Murray (Keaton Anderson), a young man who loves the sea but doesn’t want to be a sailor—he wants to be a pirate. He thinks it’s the best thing in the world. His best friend Nicole (Courtlyn Ardito) and the lady mayor of the town (Sara Viniar) try to convince him that piracy is dangerous, illegal and not the free life he thinks it is. But he is unconvinced. The mayor offers to give him a ship if he can assemble a crew and obtain a barrel of gunpowder. To her surprise, he persuades all the townspeople to be his crew, and obtains the gunpowder. But the path to piracy is not a smooth one. Murray is arrested by the local constable (James Carman), and the obstacles and adventures that follow include prison, real pirates, ghosts, a gypsy dancer, a wild chase scene, and, worst of all, disillusionment. But, as the directors point out, the show is not really about becoming a pirate, but about pursuing one’s dreams and making them real.

Fine performances are contributed by Anderson as Murray, Ardito as Nicole, Viviar as the Mayor, Carman as the constable, Shawn Barnes as Simon, the first (or is it second?) mate, and many others. The ensemble performs enthusiastically in the lively songs and dances.  A charming touch is added by the “coptet” of young policewomen (Meagan Cutting, Kylie Young, Courtney Bundens, and Amy Palen), who sing sweetly. The sound system had a few glitches on opening night, and sometimes the unseen piano threatened to drown out the singing. The show could use a little smoothing here and there, but it is enjoyable entertainment for all the family.

Remaining performances are Friday, August 17 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, August 18 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm. If you read this early enough on Friday, your evening can include dinner at 5:30. The Wedgwood Country Club is not hard to find if you Google the driving instructions, and the show is well worth the trip.

Book, Lyrics and Music by Joshua Kurtz
Directed by Joshua Kurtz and Logan Kauffeld
August 16-18, 2012
Aftershock Entertainment
Wedgwood Country Club
200 Hurffville Road
Turnersville, NJ 08012

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