Two years ago, Eric Schaeffer embarked on his journey to direct Signature Theatre’s world-premiere musical “Blackbeard” with a modest vision. But when he heard the tunes written for the show by composer Dana P. Rowe and lyricist John Dempsey, he set a new course. “The original idea was very minimalist,” Schaeffer says. “But the more you actually listened to the songs that they wrote — they were so epic in scope, I was like, ‘I think we need to blow this up.’ ” Signature ultimately spun a globe-trotting tale about Blackbeard’s quest to raise an undead pirate army, complete with special effects, elaborate sword fights and puppetry, and an immersive pirate ship set. Schaeffer, costume designer Erik Teague and scenic designer Paul Tate dePoo III walked Express through the show’s ambitious aesthetic.
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