BEMIDJI -- Hoist anchor and set sail with members of the Bemidji Community Theater as they venture off in search of pirate gold to “Treasure Island” at the historic Chief Theater. This rollicking musical, full of pirate songs like “Pieces of Eight” and “Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest” is suitable for all ages.
The play will run March 20-22 and 27-29, with performances at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Meet young Jim Hawkins (played by Maggie Loxtercamp) who longs for adventure on the high seas but is committed to helping his widowed mother (Carla Norris-Raynbird) run the family inn. Enter Tom Morgan (Tim Rolly), the first mate on the schooner Hispaniola, who narrates the tale and oversees the adventure. But watch out for Billy Bones (Jacob Rogers) who, with his last breath, gives Jim a map showing where Captain Flint buried his hoard of treasure.
Soon Jim, Tom Morgan, Captain Smollet (Kevin McIntyre) and Squire Trelawney (Tucker Iverson) hire a crew to fit out the Hispaniola to seek Skeleton Island and become rich forever; but, just as Billy Bones warned, beware the one-legged man. Jim, who soon meets the one- legged man who goes by the name of Long John Silver (Jeffrey Roy Willis), becomes intrigued by Silver’s stories of wild adventure and doesn’t heed the warning until he learns of a mutiny headed by none other than Silver himself, who has swayed half the crew to join him. Once they land on the island, both groups come face to face with old Ben Gunn (Tiffany Barta) who has spent three long years marooned on the island with no human contact, left there by Long John himself.
Most of the familiar characters from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel are there with an additional character named Meg (Amanda Gartner), who has been sent along on the voyage to oversee the young Jim. This one difference sets this musical apart from the other adaptations of this famous novel.
Stevenson led what could be considered by many to be a vagabond lifestyle, traveling and living among the islands and the people of the eastern and central Pacific. He wrote the bulk of his work, including “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped,” “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and “The Black Arrow,” between 1883 and 1886. He died in 1890 and is buried on Mount Vaea in the Samoan Islands where his poem Requiem is engraved on his tombstone:
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
The BCT cast of 33 is directed by Mary Knox-Johnson with musical direction by Paul and Julie Loxtercamp, choreography by Krista Grover, scenic design by Dwayne Johnson, and fight direction by Kirk Karstens, with stage managers Faith McIntyre and Joy Paavola, costume manager Tammy Rogers, and assistant director Faith McIntyre.
Playing it forward
Eight years ago, BCT started a Playing It Forward program to teach philanthropy to the younger members of the cast and to give back to the community as a whole. During “A Christmas Carol” they collected food for the local food shelf, during “Peter Pan” they made and sold fairy wings with the profits going to St. Judes’s Hospital and the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital, during “Dragonsong” (and for three years since) they have collected new or slightly used children’s books to be given away to every child who attends the spring children’s production. Once again, BCT will be giving away a free book to every child in attendance at “Treasure Island.” As such, BCT is looking for donations of new or slightly used books appropriate for children kindergarten through high school age. Books may be dropped off at the BCT Performing Arts Center, 316 Beltrami Ave. NW, on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 1 and 4 p.m. or at Gallery North, 310 Fourth St. NW, Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
If you go:
What: "Treasure Island"
When: 7 p.m. March 20, 21, 27 and 28; 2 p.m. March 22 and 29
Where: Chief Theater
Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $6 for children. Available at Iverson Corner Drug and Ken K. Thompson Jewelry or at the door pending availability.