Ahoy, Maties!

Debbie Leonard

"A Tale of Blackbeard" returns to Ocracoke for summer 2018!

"Blackbeard" by Mark Brown
"Blackbeard" by Mark Brown

The summer of 2018 will bring another production of Julie Howard’s iconic musical “A Tale of Blackbeard” sponsored by local arts organization Ocracoke Alive and directed by Karen Dundore-Gulotta. This year’s production will be the 12th in the plays 42 year history. Ocracoke Alive’s Executive Director David Tweedie says “Ocracoke Alive is very excited to have Karen Dundore-Gulotta as visiting director. We have a wonderful cast this year and some new surprises for this year’s production. It should be a lot of fun and a great show!”

This year’s cast is a mix of old and new faces to the Ocracoke stage. Playing the role of Blackbeard will be Peyton Piquard whom audiences may recognize as the Helmsman from the 2015 production, as well as from the Deepwater Theater shows “Blackbeard, A Historical Hysterical Account” and “A Dingbatters Guide to Ocracoke.”

Filling the role of Miss Euphemia, the boarding house proprietor, will be Katy Mitchell. It’s especially fitting that Katy should be play the role since her mother was Miss Euphemia in the 1978 production in addition to playing Elizabeth in the 1980 production. Katy’s father Gary Mitchell has also appeared in past productions having played the roles of Richard Evans and Blackbeard. Katy appeared in the 2014 revival of the show sharing the role of Marjorie the boarding house cook with DeAnna Locke. DeAnna reprised the role of Marjorie in 2015 and this year will be playing Victoria Farthingham, wife of the town watchman. Marjorie the cook will be played by Megan Spencer who was Euphemia in the 2015 production. Bill Cole will be returning in the role of Ezekiel, the ship’s cook, a role he played in the 2014 and 2015 productions.

Another familiar face is the Helmsman, Mark Brown. Mark last played William Howard in the 2015 production. He is a talented artist, having painted the backdrops used in the previous production. He is the creator of the Blackbeard portrait used on the promotional materials for the 2018 “A Tale of Blackbeard” and is often seen around the village doing plein air painting. He is known for his unique paintings of Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands.

Ahoy, Maties!

One of the new faces for this year is Jesi Franklin who will be playing the role of Elizabeth Farthingham the young girl who falls in love with a pirate. Jesi is a third generation Blackbeard cast member. In 1983 her grandmother, Marian Trent, played Mrs. Farthingham and her mother, local veterinarian Laura Trent, played a Village Girl.

Julie Howard wrote the play during the winter of 1973-74 as a fundraiser for the local school. Ocracoke had an active theater group. The Ocracoke Players, and they wanted to put on a show for the summer visitors. Julie got busy and by the spring, “A Tale of Blackbeard”, a full-length, three act musical was born. Julie now lives in Washington State but spends her summers on Ocracoke. Through the years Julie’s family has been involved in the play and her daughter Amy will be returning as a Village Girl.

The director, Karen Dundore-Gulotta lives in Myerstown, PA where she is active in the local theater scene as a director, actor, and costumer. She is on sabbatical from her job as Director of Special Populations at the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center in Lebanon, PA and is also working with the students from Ocracoke School as part of the Ocracoke Alive Arts Partnership. Karen says that it has been her dream to direct A Tale of Blackbeard. Desiree Ricker will be returning as choreographer along Julie Howard, accompanist and musical director.

A Tale of Blackbeard is scheduled to begin in early June at the Community Center and then transition to the Ocracoke School gym. All performances are at 8:00 on Monday evenings until mid-August. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit the Ocracoke Alive webpage, www.ocracokealive.org.

Cast: “A Tale of Blackbeard” 2018 

  • Blackbeard–Peyton Piquard
  • Quartermaster William Howard–David Sanchez
  • Helmsman–Mark Brown
  • Richard Evans, a young sailor–John Brodisch II/Waylon Underwood
  • Ezekial, the ship’s cook–Bill Cole
  • Sailors: Waylon Underwood, Daniel Isbrecht, David Tweedie, Kim France, Parker Gaskill
  • Cabin Boy–Petros Burleson 
  • Oliver Farthingham, the town watchman–Tom Burruss
  • Victoria Fathingham, his wife–DeAnna Locke
  • Elizabeth Farthingham, the older daughter–Jesi Franklin
  • Katherine Farthingham, the younger daughter–Juliette Jordan/Bailey Bryan 
  • Miss Euphemia, the boarding house proprietor–Katy Mitchell
  • Marjorie, the boarding house cook–Megan Spencer
  • Village Girls: Amy Howard, Caroline Novak, Mackenzie Novak, Becky Boos, Tory Kane 

In 2018, regular shows will be held at the Ocracoke Community Center on Mondays (June 11th-25th), and at the Ocracoke School Gym Auditorium, Monday, July 2nd-Monday, August 13th. Summer shows start at 8pm; doors open at 7:30pm Tickets are $15 Adults/$7 Kids. Performances at the Ocracoke School Gym have plenty of room for walk-ups, while the Ocracoke Community Center has limited seating. For more information or to reserve tickets, check out the Ocracoke Alive website

Debbie Leonard is an Ocracoke resident and the stage manager for "A Tale of Blackbeard."

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