A Pirate’s Life For Me!

A Pirate’s Life For Me!

Swashbuckling adventure awaits at Silver Dollar City



What little boy doesn’t dream of a swashbuckling adventure aboard a pirate ship laden with treasure?

Brad Schroeder certainly did. The proof is in the new Broadway-style show at Silver Dollar City, where Schroeder is vice president of entertainment and events. “Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure” was four years in the making, starting with a challenge to Schroeder from Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions: “Can you write an original story that still has music people would know and hum along with?”

“All of Silver Dollar City’s productions, whether it be Dickens’ ‘Christmas Carol’ or ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’ must include a tie-in to the values of our property,” Schroeder explains. “With this show, each member of the family will find a message they can stand behind and believe. Themes like being true to yourself and being a light to others are ones that are especially true in this production.

“Tying it all together, there had to be a connection to the 1880s Ozark Mountains. As we dived further, we realized that Robert Lewis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ was published in 1883, providing the key to the storyline of this show — books,” Schroeder goes on. “Reuben is an avid reader, with his dreamscape painted by the literary work of Stevenson and others. There are pirates, sure, but this musical also features vagabonds, monks and other characters that exist to help Reuben discover his destiny.”

Besides Schroeder, that destiny lies in the hands of producer Casey Robertson — the man whose job is bringing all the details together — and two 11-year-old actors, Kashton Hansen and A.J. Turner, who share the role of Reuben.

“I am from Branson, and ever since I was born, my parents have been professional entertainers,” says Kashton. “So I’ve gotten to watch them in all of their different performances. Watching all of the shows got me fascinated with theatrical performances. So now I’m just following in their footsteps.”

Silver Dollar City audiences already know Kashton from his favorite role as Tiny Tim in “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol.” But “Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure” has stolen his heart.

“In this production, I get to sing and dance so much more than I ever have,” he says. “I am also on stage the entire time. I also just love working with such amazing people. It is such an amazing opportunity to work at Silver Dollar City and perform in front of thousands of people. I absolutely love it!”

So does A.J., with whom Kashton trades off the role. It’s his first time at Silver Dollar City, but he started at 3 weeks old playing the Baby Jesus in “The Promise.”

“Reuben is a little boy who loves reading,” he explains of the character. “He’s currently reading a book called ‘Treasure Island,’ all about pirates and destiny and all that stuff. He has a dream and wonders what his destiny is — and he meets all the characters in the book and goes on a quest to find his destiny.”

Helping Reuben along the way is Long John Silver, played by Jeremy Brown. Also a veteran of SDC’s “Christmas Carol” — along with other shows elsewhere, including on TV — he says he had no idea when he first arrived at Silver Dollar City “how extravagant everything is here.”

“Every day I’m kind of surprised I walk through a theme park to get to work, because it certainly seems like it belongs on the strip,” the New Yorker says.

That, says Robertson, is because of the nationally known professionals who designed the set and the costumes, created the music and directed the show. And that’s not to mention the new 44-foot by 22-foot video wall, a giant pirate ship, a flying magician and Long John Silver swinging in on a rope.

“Each show carries its own feelings when you see the final work on stage, but this one has a special place in my heart,” Schroeder admits. “From conception to production to our own talent, we really have a first-class team here at our park, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”



‘Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure’

WHEN — Daily through Aug. 4

WHERE — The Opera House at Silver Dollar City, near Branson, Mo.

COST — Included with park admission

INFO — 800-831-4386 or silverdollarcity.com

Categories: Theater