The award-winning creative team from Western Carolina University that already has destroyed the world with its presentation of “War of the Worlds” and paid homage to the early broadcasts of the Cotton Club with its “golden age of radio” re-creations has announced its selection for 2016.
“Blackbeard’s Ghost and the Queen Ann’s Revenge” will be the eighth in a series of academic-based entertainment productions mounted in collaboration with three departments and two colleges at WCU and will be under the leadership of director Peter Savage, music director Bruce Frazier and writer and producer Don Connelly.
Each of the shows in the series hearkens back to radio’s heyday, featuring a live orchestra and sound effects. The group overseeing the productions has won seven national broadcasting awards for its unique projects. Actors in the show will include WCU students, staff and faculty.
“Blackbeard’s Ghost and the Queen Ann’s Revenge” is an entirely new story about the most famous pirate of all time, Connelly said. This is the sixth show the professor and head of the Department of Communication has researched and written for the group. “Many of the people and all of the locations used in the script are real,” he said.
“There are some who say Blackbeard and his ship still sail the waters off the Outer Banks,” Connelly said. “The story takes place during the early part of World War II and is based on what occurred just off Nags Head in an area of the ocean known as Torpedo Junction. Nearly 400 ships were sunk and some 5,000 people lost their lives to Nazi U-boats before the attacks suddenly stopped.
“The Coast Guard played a pivotal role in defending the coastline during the war. I was honored to speak with a 94-year-old former member of the Coast Guard who was stationed at Nags Head during World War II to get details for the story,” Connelly said. In addition to eyewitness accounts, the Coast Guard historian’s office in Washington, D.C., provided Connelly with a previously classified Coast Guard document that shed a lot of light on the story. Concerning the issue of why the U-Boat attacks suddenly stopped, “I’m not talking,” he said.
Students and faculty work at rehearsals for Blackboard's Ghost and Queen Ann's Revenge
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