Polished ‘Lady Pirates’ are gold on KKHS stage

“What high school student will say no to sword fighting?” asks King Kekaulike High School drama instructor Chris Kepler.

As promised, “The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree” delivers humor, conflict, great music, and a fun plot line and theme. What it also has going for it is a great deal of joy and energy. It’s obvious these 30-plus students are having the time of their lives, delivering one of King Kekaulike’s most joyous productions.

The first large-scale musical number, “They’re a Nasty Lot,” works tremendously well with swordfights in the aisles, multiple belting voices and a flawless brass-heavy band led by Casey Nagata.

The stars of this ensemble piece are the lady pirates, headed by Carlyn Leal as Captain Bree, with Malia Kimmel, Zoe Wender, Feona Rehfuss, Levi English, Dara Reckford, Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland, Tara Servis and Kiana Morrison. I particularly enjoyed Morrison’s pirate performance, understated and dryly comedic with a Beatles-ish accent.

The Prescotts (Kayla Bounds, Monica Patterson and Michael Peacock), a wealthy British family, are held captive by the pirates. Since Captain Jennings (James McCain) has no treasure, the family is kept aboard as ransom.

Bounds, as Madam Prescott, gives a superb performance, especially on the lovely, “A Lady of Sensibility.”

Patterson, as Julia Prescott, wishes to join the sisterhood and bonds with her shipmates on “Thar Be a Man for Every Wench,” and “Shipshape ‘n’ Bristol Fashion.” Both numbers are catchy and good fun with able vocals.

“Lady Pirates” is part Disney ride and “Pirates of Penzance.” A farcical cartoon quality is essential, and the entire cast is focused and having fun.

Throughout the entire production, teen after teen steps up to deliver forceful, on-key vocals. “Oh, My Captain,” performed by Leal and McCain, is another quality number.

One of the joys of attending youth theater is seeing a timid sophomore evolve into a confident actor. Although not known for musicals, this senior-laden cast has stepped out of its comfort zone to present one of the most polished youth productions of the year.

* Michael Pulliam can be reached at