‘How I Became a Pirate’ with Shadow Signing for the Deaf

Oakland University presents ‘How I Became a Pirate,’ a children’s musical, June 3-5

Eight young actors dresses as pirates look at a treasure map on an outdoor stage.

When you’re a pirate, you don’t have to eat vegetables or go to bed at all. You can talk rough, sword fight, and say “Arrrgh!” any time you want. It’s a perfect life … except that there is no one to tuck you in at night, give you kisses, or read stories to you. What’s a pirate to do?

Find out when Oakland University’s Department of Theatre presents How I Became a Pirate, a children’s musical, from June 3-5 on the Varner Hall Courtyard Outdoor Stage.

Tickets are $10 for general admission or $6 for students and children, and must be purchased in advance.

“The cast and production team of How I Became a Pirate is thrilled to offer young and old alike this tuneful, funny, and touching musical about the adventures that await us when we leave home…and ultimately what it is about home that we treasure,” said David Gram, an assistant professor of theatre at OU and director of How I Became a Pirate.

Based upon the well-known book written by Melinda Long with illustrations by David Shannon, How I Became a Pirate features music and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman.

The production also stars Cayla Stus as Jeremy Jacob, Antonio Vettraino as Braid Beard, Braeden Haggerty as Swill the Pirate, Kaye Hoffmeyer as Sharktooth the Pirate, Princess Jones as Pirate Pierre, Sophia Cannella as Max the Pirate, Emily Nichter as Pirate Seymour Braunschwagger, and Olivia Kiefer as Pirate Scurvy Dog.

“Being an actor in a children’s show is overall really exciting,” Vettraino said. “I don’t have to be afraid of taking huge risks/choices during rehearsal, which allows all of us in the cast to have a lot of fun during the show, which is great because our sense of play/bold choices can translate to something magical for any children that see the show. It’s also very relieving to be back doing in-person theatre and having people in the room to work off of, which I haven’t had in over a year.”

All performances of How I Became a Pirate will also be shadow-signed for the Deaf by Synergy on Stage.

Unlike other methods of accommodating Deaf viewers, including the use of an off-stage interpreter or captions on a screen above the stage, “shadow signing” allows ASL performers to follow or “shadow” the actors on stage while interpreting, which means the audience can easily pay attention to both the sign language and the actors in the theatre.

“Our company of Pirates can’t wait to sing and dance their way into your hearts, and maybe even show you their green teeth in the process,” Gram said. “Being able to present this live on our outdoor Festival Stage, and featuring shadow interpreters Synergy on Stage, reminds us how special it is to come together in-person to tell stories and share in a few ‘Arrrghs!’”

Performance Schedule

  • Thursday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m.*
  • Friday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m.* and 5:00 p.m.*
  • Saturday, June 5 at 2:00 p.m.*

* Shadow signed for the Deaf by Synergy on Stage

For more information, contact the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at 248-370-2030 or smtd@oakland.edu.

Would you like to win four tickets to How I Became a Pirate? All you need to do is show us your best pirate “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!”

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