Boublil And Schönberg's The Pirate Queen
From the legendary team behind Les Misérables and Miss Saigon comes the epic musical adventure celebrating the legendary heroic Irish Chieftain and pirate Grace O'Malley.
Show Essentials
9
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG13
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

The Prologue begins with a silhouette of a woman at the wheel of a ship. She is Grace O’Malley. When the curtain rises we see that she is a young woman, merely pretending. A young man enters, and Grace hides from him. He is Tiernan, her childhood friend. They begin to swordfight until they get too close. They begin to kiss passionately.

The musical opens in Clew Bay, on the launching of Clan O’Malley’s newest ship, The Pirate Queen, captained by Chieftain Dubhdara O’Malley ("The Pirate Queen"). We see Grace, Chief Dubhdara’s daughter, who begs to be allowed to be a sailor on the Pirate Queen’s maiden voyage. When he denies her, she laments to Tiernan about the restraints of being a woman during this time ("Woman"). At a time when women on a ship are considered to bring bad luck, she decides to hide among the crew disguised as a boy. When disaster subsequently strikes on the high seas, she proves her mettle and earns her place as one of the ship’s crew ("My Grace").

Ecstatic that she can stay on board, Grace and Tiernan promise each other that they will marry ("Here On This Night"). Clan O’Malley goes about its business of pirating the seas and encounters the British War ship. During this battle Grace shows her bravery and leadership when she single-handedly saves her fathers life, and kills the English Captain. This action causes Dubhdara to decide to make her the captain of the Pirate Queen. He says, “You, Grace, are the Pirate Queen”. Grace becomes famous and feared as a proud defender of her country. In England, Queen Elizabeth I rises to start a new day ("The Waking of The Queen"). She and her confidante, Lord Richard Bingham, weigh the news of this formidable woman. Elizabeth considers herself Queen of Ireland and will have no rival, least of all a woman! She orders Grace O’Malley destroyed ("Rah-Rah, Tip-Top").

Ireland finds itself in turmoil. As England’s oppression grows, warring Irish clans are forced to unite. Clans O’Flaherty and O’Malley meet and decide to join together. Although Grace is still in love with Tiernan, she is to be married to Donal O’Flaherty, heir to Clan O’Flaherty, as a way to unite the clans. Tiernan is heartbroken at the news. Grace is equally devastated that she must give up everything she has fought for: Tiernan and the Sea ("The Choice Is Mine"). Nevertheless she accepts it as her duty to her country, and accepts the marriage union. Donal brags to the men of Clan O'Flaherty that he'll tame his new bride (Boys'll Be Boys). She and Donal are married ("The Wedding"). Tiernan soliloquises on his continuing love for Grace, and vows to always be her protector ("I'll Be There").

Donal proves himself to be a womanising, cowardly scoundrel and his marriage to Grace is a stormy affair. About a year into their marriage, the English attack Rockfleet, where Grace and the rest of the Clan O’Flaherty reside, while the men were off fighting in Belclare. The women, led by Grace, defeat the English soldiers by seducing them and then killing them. However, we find out that the English also attacked Clew Bay and that Dubhdara was badly wounded by an English blade, and Grania, Donal, and the clan travel to see him before his death ("A Day Beyond Belclare"). Meanwhile, Bingham returns to England, defeated and in disgrace.

On his deathbed, Dubhdara names Grace as his successor, despite the fact that she is a woman. As Dubdhara dies, Grace accepts her new role as Chieftain of the Clan O’Malley ("Sail To The Stars").

Act Two

Amidst continued war with the English, Grace gives birth to a son, Eoin ("Enemy At Port Side"). Donal’s cowardice in one crucial battle proves the breaking point for Grace. In the tradition of the Brehon Law, she “dismisses” him publicly, officially dissolving their marriage ("I Dismiss You"). Tiernan and Grania privately reflect on their feelings for each other and in the end kiss and reunite ("If I Said I Loved You").

Lord Bingham suggests to Queen Elizabeth that she may marry the man who defeats Ireland, allowing them to produce an English heir ("The Role of The Queen"). Bingham becomes determined to bring down Grace O’Malley once and for all. Emasculated and shamed, Donal colludes with Lord Bingham, betraying the Clan O’Malley and Ireland itself.

Eoin is christened ("The Christening"). The celebration is interrupted by Donal, asking to be with his son ("Let A Father Stand By His Son"). But it's a distraction - Clew Bay is invaded. Grace is arrested. In the melee, Tiernan kills Donal and escapes with Eoin.

Grace is jailed, and all of the other Irish Chieftains surrender their crowns to England. Tiernan, whose feelings for Grace have never changed, offers the English a trade - his freedom for Grace’s ("Surrender"). Elizabeth finds herself affected by this turn of events and she grants Tiernan’s request. She reflects on her own life as a woman in power, as Grace, locked in prison, reflects on her life in shambles. They both conclude that it is a woman in love who has all ("She Who Has All"). Grace is freed to care for her child, and Tiernan is imprisoned in her place. Reunited with her child, Grace’s joy is tempered by the realisation of how Ireland has changed during her imprisonment. The country has grown desolate, her lands are ravaged, her people are hungry, and injustice reigns.

Grace takes fate into her own hands and returns to England to confront Queen Elizabeth ("The Sea Of Life"). Granted an audience, these two powerful women - one reigning queen and another without a crown - find themselves face to face, in a private conversation unheard by eager courtiers ("Woman to Woman"). The most unexpected truce is hammered out between them, freeing Clew Bay from the worst of English rule. Tiernan is granted his freedom and Lord Bingham falls into disgrace.

Grace and Tiernan find themselves reunited at last ("Finale"). Unencumbered now by war and previous alliances, they can finally pledge themselves to each other and pray for extended peace in Ireland.

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Star Vehicle Female
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Grace (Grania) O'Malley

Daughter and only child of Dubhdara

Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Queen Elizabeth I
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 40
Dubhdara

Chieftain of the Clan O'Malley

Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Tiernan

A sailor and Grace's childhood sweetheart

Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Lord Richard Bingham

Advisor to Elizabeth, Lord Governor of Ireland

Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Chieftain of the Clan O'Flaherty
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Donal

Son and heir of the Clan O'Flaherty Chieftain

Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Evleen

An old woman, Grace's nurse and ceremonial matriarch of the Clan O'Malley

Gender: female
Age: 50 to 60
Majella

A woman of Clew Bay, Evleen's friend

Gender: female
Age: 40 to 50
Ensemble

Includes Irish Soldiers, English Soldiers, Men and Women of the Clans O'Malley and O'Flaherty, Lords and Ladies-in-Waiting at the English Court, Guards, Jailor, Piper

Full Song List
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Prologue
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Pirate Queen
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Woman
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : My Grace
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Here On This Night
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Waking Of The Queen
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Rah-Rah, Tip-Top
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Choice Is Mine
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Boys'll Be Boys
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Wedding
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : I'll Be There
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : A Day Beyond Belclare
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Sail To The Stars
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Entr'acte
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Enemy At Port Side
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : I Dismiss You
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : If I Said I Loved You
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Role of The Queen
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Christening
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Let A Father Stand By His Son
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Surrender
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : She Who Has All
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : The Sea Of Life
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Woman To Woman
Pirate Queen, Boublil And Schnberg's The : Finale

Show History

Inspiration

Although The Pirate Queen was inspired by a historical fiction novel, "Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas", Grace O'Malley is indeed a real historical figure. However, "Grace O'Malley" is the English version of her actual name, Gráinne Ní Mháille. Clare Island is famous throughout Ireland as her birthplace.

Grace not only inspired Boubil and Schönberg, but also countless Irish musicians and writers. James Joyce features her in "Finnegan's Wake". Cathie Ryan, Shaun Davey, and Gavin Dunne are among many musicians who have writtens songs about her or inspired by her. 

Production History

The Pirate Queen first ran at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago from October 3, 2006 through November 26, 2006, starring Tony-nominated Broadway star Stephanie J. Block as Grace. The production moved to Broadway at the Hilton Theatre, premiering on April 5, 2007 and closed on June 17, 2007. A production of The Pirate Queen ran at the Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy, Utah from February to April of 2016.

Critical Reaction

"A lush whirlwind of beauty."

- Broadway World

"Circulation-stimulating exercises occur regularly in this singing costume drama of love and patriotism on the high seas..."

- New York Times

Billing

Based on the novel "Grania - She King of the Irish Seas" by Morgan Llewelyn

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
You agree to bill the Play and the authors in all programs, houseboards, displays and in all advertising and all paid publicity, in the following manner:
BOUBLIL AND SCHÖNBERG’S
(50%)
 
THE PIRATE QUEEN
(100%)
 
Book by
ALAIN BOUBLIL

(50%)

  CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHÖNBERG

(50%)

 RICHARD MALTBY JR.

(50%)

Music by

CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHÖNBERG
 
Lyrics by
ALAIN BOUBLIL

(50%)

RICHARD MALTBY JR.

(50%)

JOHN DEMPSEY

(50%)

 

Additional Title Page Credits:
Additionally, you agree to include the following credit on the title page for all programs of the Play:
“Based upon the novel “Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas” by Morgan Llywelyn”
Shortened Billing:
In advertisements of 1/4 page size or less, or where only the title of the play, performance dates and venue are provided, the following "shortened billing" is permissible:
BOUBLIL AND SCHÖNBERG’S THE PIRATE QUEEN

 

 

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK25
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE1
PIANO VOCAL SCORE1

Production Resources

Resource
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO
REHEARSAL ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC FRETLESS , ELECTRIC FRETTED
DRUMSBODHRAN , COW BELL , DRUM KIT , TEMPLE BLOCKS
GUITARACOUSTIC GUITAR , BANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR , NYLON STRING GUITAR , 12-STRING GUITAR
HARPGAELIC HARP , HARP
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
PERCUSSIONANVIL , BASS DRUM , CABASA , CELESTA , CHIMES , CONGAS , COW BELL , CROTALES , DARABOUKA , FIELD DRUM , GLOCKENSPIEL , GUIRO , MARIMBA , MARK TREE , PIATTI , PICCOLO SNARE DRUM , POP GUN , SANDPAPER , SHAKER , SLAPSTICK , SNARE DRUM , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TEMPLE BLOCKS , TENOR DRUM , TIMBALES , TIMPANI , TOM-TOMS , TRIANGLE , VIBRAPHONE , VIBRASLAP , WHIP , WIND CHIMES , WOOD BLOCK , XYLOPHONE
PIANO
REED 1CLARINET , SOPRANO SAXOPHONE
REED 2PIPES , WHISTLES
VIOLIN