‘Pirate’ mischief coming ashore in Westport

April 3, 2018 GMT

What kid wouldn’t want to skip school and go on a grand adventure? Perhaps sail around the world with a lovable bunch of pirates who are searching for an out-of-the-way spot to bury their loot?

That’s what youngster Jeremy Jacob does in “How I Became a Pirate,” a children’s musical that comes to the Westport Country Playhouse on Sunday, April 15, for two afternoon performances. It is recommended for age 4 through 10.

On a nationwide tour, the Dallas Children’s Theatre production features five “colorful” pirates and Jeremy, who is played by a young woman, Alex Altshuler. Captain of the ship is Steven Miller, as Braid Beard, who takes Jeremy under his wing and teaches him all the basics of pirate life. Based on a book by Melinda Long, with illustrations by David Shannon, the musical features book, music, and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman.

The company explains that Jeremy, who has always lived by the seashore, has the time of his life as he helps Capt. Braid Beard and the others “on a quest for the perfect spot to bury their treasure. While Jeremy finds fun and adventure on the high seas, he soon learns that home and family are treasures that can’t be found on any map.”

The tale is age-appropriate, said Miller in a recent telephone chat from a tour stop in Madison, Wisc. “There won’t be any pillaging or plundering,” he added, laughing. “These are good guys — a family of pirates — who want to find a good location to bury their treasure.”

Miller, 27, a Dallas-area native, said he’s having a wonderful time traveling around the country and seeing the sights on his first national tour. It started in mid-September and runs through mid-May.

“It’s a bunch of fun,” Miller said, adding that he greatly enjoys performing for children.

“Theirs is a pure reaction. ‘Wow. Pirates!’ It’s honest and joyful,” said Miller, who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he studied musical theater and cinema. “There are a couple of points” in the musical, during which “I have these great interactions with the audience, asking them where we should hide the treasure. That’s one of my favorite moments,” he said.

Sometimes, a child will point to a theater exit, indicating his/her suggestion to “go outside,” he said. “That’s fun, because I’ll actually leave the theater” and return a few seconds later to report back to the audience that the lobby lacked any suitable sites for their booty.

Bringing children to live theater, he said, is most often a wonderful experience for them that can lead lifelong appreciation for the arts. “How I Became a Pirate” stresses “the importance of using your imagination. And I think that’s an important lesson for kids these days,” Miller added.

pasboros@ctpost.com; Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros