|These musicals have been written in collaboration
with Anthea Parnell, who writes the music. Gregory writes the
stories, scripts and lyrics. He makes up original stories, which
aim to entertain audiences with what used to be known as ‘good
clean fun’. There is deliberately no reference to particular
places and times, or particular social problems. He prefers
to deal with the perennial human issues that mean something
to people from all cultures.
‘The Pirate Queen’
This musical was premiered by the girls of St Cyprian’s
Preparatory School, Cape Town, in May 2007. The director was
Jacqueline Pienaar. Our original title was ‘The Pirate
Queen’, but a month before our opening night we found
out that someone else had just premiered a musical of the
same name on Broadway. My story has nothing whatsoever to
do with theirs, and was not influenced by theirs in any way.
The story is purely fictional,
set in the Indian Ocean, in the late 1700’s. A ruthless
woman pirate by the name of Esmeralda Tark has set up something
of a small empire, and is terrorising the shipping in the
area around a group of islands. There is a huge reward for
her capture. The British governor of the island group makes
a pact with a captain of the Royal Navy to share this reward.
Complications come when a rival pirate, Louis Leboyer, captures
a trader right under the nose of Esmeralda. Swept up in the
ensuing action are two teenage girls who escaped from Leboyer’s
men, two pricelessly amateur spies, much gossip, and a voodoo
priestess worth her weight in snake venom, who keeps a pet
that you will never forget. The original cast numbered 96.
Performers should be age 11 to adult. Audiences from age 5
to adult. For a preview of the script, contact the author.
|Lt Jellicoe and Sailor
||Bodyguard Executing Officer
|Photos were courtesy of Imago Studios,
This musical was also premiered by the girls of St Cyprian’s
Preparatory School, Cape Town, this time in March, 2009. Once
again, Jacqueline Pienaar was the director, and she did a
fantastic job of it, resulting in standing ovations. The story
is a fairy-tale of somewhat mixed historical time-periods.
It is set in a distant land where there are three kingdoms,
all ruled by Queens. Prince Jovano, the son of the poor Queen
Notanuf, is kidnapped by Queen Izigo (an inveterate gambler)
and taken to the court of the rich and powerful Queen Absoluta,
who would like him to marry her daughter, the Princess Sulkina.
Jovano is set the challenge of coming up with the most important
question in the world. If he gets it right, he wins his freedom,
and the kingdom that Queen Izigo has lost to Queen Absoluta
at cards. If he gets it wrong, he has to stay a captive and
marry Sulkina, a very unpleasant prospect for both of them.
(He’s not, you know… ‘the type’.)
Full of action, and thronging with interesting characters
that respectively seek to help or hinder Jovano in his quest,
it ends on a very (pleasantly) surprising note. Performers
should be age 11 to adult, audiences aged 5 to adult (there
are some scenes that could scare younger children.) The original
cast numbered 123. For a preview of the script, contact the
|Absoluta and Quizzicum
||Sophia Nellie Robert Chariot
|Mafiosi pointing guns at Petruska
||Izigo on floor with Courtiers
|Photos were courtesy of Imago Studios,
‘Amanago Man’ (not yet
For audiences aged 12 to adult, and performers from 15 to
adult. What would it do to one’s character to be marooned
alone on a planet, away from Earth, for 28 years? Such was
the fate of the central character, later given the name ‘Amanago
Man’ by members of a space-ship crew who encountered
him. Amanago Man was there to guard a highly strategic spoil
of war, captured from aliens. This device was a life-force
generator, said to be able to make one young again. His own
ship exploded accidentally, and he was the only survivor.
He learnt to hunt in the primeval forest, and hoped for the
day when he would eventually be found and returned to his
kind. When a scout ship did eventually arrive, bungling by
some of the soldiers resulted in the accidental destruction
of that ship. The only survivors of this tragedy were three
young women, led by the beautiful and intelligent Ticina.
Amanago Man fell in love with her, but did not ever let her
see him, as he did not want her to see that he was old. He
was always hoping to become rejuvenated, if only he could
obtain star-ship fuel to drive the life-force generator that
he was so zealously guarding. From a distance, he assists
the three young women to survive and become skilful hunters.
The action really begins when the third ship arrives to look
for wreckage of the previous two ships. The ‘Raider
Five’ is commanded by Commander Craik, a stern and despotic
leader, assisted by his second in command, Lieutenant Lupinsky,
who looks after his own interests very efficiently, to say
the least. Among the crew are three young men, who all for
different reasons, are not suited to the military, and who
clash with Lupinsky. Their mission: to find traces of wreckage
or survivors of the past two expeditions, on a planet which
is otherwise uninhabited. (Or, is it?) The three surviving
women entice the three misfits to jump ship and stay on the
planet. Their ruse is discovered, and Craik comes down hard
on the hapless would-be deserters. Non-stop action and intrigue
ensues, and the main characters are stretched to the limits
of their loyalties. The dramatic ending gives one much to
reflect upon. The script is presently (2010) complete, and
the music about half complete.
'A Whale in Paris'
The story is set in approximately the 1850's, with a Great Exhibition taking place in Paris. The director of publicity for the exhibition comes up with a claim that the exhibition is so interesting, that a whale has swum all the way up the Seine to come and see it. Most people think this is mere sensationalism when they read of it in their newspapers. But Sylvie, a young girl, thinks otherwise. She is determined to go to Paris and see for herself if there really is a whale. Her admirer, Emile, is embarrassed by her naivety, and declines to accompany her. So she tells him she no longer needs his friendship, and sets off alone. He is mortified at having her leave him, and seeks to redress the problem, with the help of an old sea-captain who suggests he can put a whale in the Seine, so Sylvie will be proved right and feel magnanimous about accepting Emile's apology, and might take him back. Many adventures await both of them along the way. Sylvie is pick-pocketed, put in jail overnight, and is held captive by a gang of ruffians who are planning to steal one of the priceless exhibits at the Great Exhibition. We meet Inspector Piquet, the stern policeman in charge of security, two comical detectives and a host of interesting characters whose lives intertwine in this adventure. Performers should be aged 11 to adult, and suited to audiences from age 5 to adult.
'The Sultan of T’an Tang' (Not
Set on a mythical island in the east,
in the age of exploration by westerners. Suitable for performers
aged 15 and upwards, and audiences aged 15 and upwards. Script complete, lyrics and music being developed as of July 2011.
'The Fringe' (Also not yet complete)
This one will be suitable for performers aged 15 and upwards,
and audiences aged 15 and upwards. Set in an empire on another
planet, where the emperor, a complete dictator, has all dissidents
and misfits banished to a colony called ‘The Fringe’,
from which they never escape.