Critics hold court on ‘Queen’

New dialogue, songs, dance number to be added to Chi tryout run

How much does a Broadway-bound megamusical change course in the wake of a mixed raft of reviews?

That’s the question facing “The Pirate Queen,” the big-budget tuner from the creators of “Les Miserables” and the producers of “Riverdance.”

The show about a 16th-century distaff Irish buccaneer opened its tryout run in Chicago last week, and critics tended to want more character development and a stronger love story. Others were downright contradictory — the Queen Elizabeth character either sinks or saves the show, depending on which paper you read.

Producers Moya Doherty and John McColgan say their ship remains on course, and that most of the reviews told them things they already knew.

Composer-lyricist team Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg are at work on two new songs. More spoken dialogue and another dance number will also be added.

“The framework of what we have we’re happy with,” says Doherty. “It’s the order in which we tell the story, and giving the audience more backstory, that we’ll continue to work on.”

Sales, at least, are shipshape. During the tuner’s final four weeks in Chi, producers expect to sell $900,000 worth of tickets per week.

After the Chicago run finishes Nov. 26, “Queen,” with its post-tryout tinkerings in place, launches rehearsals in Gotham on Jan. 22 for perfs that begin March 2.

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