Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Tale of Blackbeard

Greetings from Bill:

Friday night, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Deepwater Theater for a delightful "read and sing" through the musical "A Tale of Blackbeard" which was performed nine of the 20 years between 1974 and 1994. Julie Howard wrote it (and composed the score) and various people directed it.

The evening provided more than a review of "A Tale of Blackbeard"; just as fascinating was the recollection of "the spirit of Ocracoke" in those years. The production was pulled off by a remarkable commitment of the island community. The cast included adults and children, lifelong residents and summer workers who somehow managed to perform two to three times a week all summer. Some years there were two full casts! When it was discovered that a university professor of dance was vacationing on Ocracoke, she was invited to provide choreography. Julie added songs and parts for interested "actors" of various ages across the years.

The venue was moved around the island from year to year including one summer outdoors on the Community Store porch and in the later years in an un-air conditioned school gym! Despite the mosquitoes and heat, hundreds of people saw "A Tale of Blackbeard" across those years.

Friday's event was obviously a delightful memory for the former cast members who were there; those of us who were experiencing "Blackbeard" for the first time were left hoping for a revival! But as Julie reminded us, even by the mid-80's it was hard working something like this into the increasingly busy summer for residents of Ocracoke. Hopefully, "where there's a will, there's a way"; at the very least, "thanks for the memories!"

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcript of a letter written in 1949 by a visitor to the island. You can read the letter (which provides a glimpse into Ocracoke life sixty years ago) here:


  1. Thanks for posting about this, Bill. You captured the evening perfectly. Ditto to everything you said! What a wonderful evening, even for us first-timers. - Jen

  2. Anonymous2:13 PM

    what no pod cast -- no one capture it on video ?? to sell the tapes as a fundraiser are there T-shirts certainly there is a t-shirt to raise money

  3. But I wasn't here from 1974 to 1994, and I was off the island Friday, so . . . I still ain't seen Blackbeard.

    It's not fair!