For Greenville High School senior Bruce Stephenson, the third time’s a charm when it comes to playing a pirate.

“How I Became a Pirate,” a South Carolina Children’s Theater musical based on local author Melinda Long’s best-selling book, first opened at the Peace Center in 2010. As the youngest cast member in the musical, Stephenson scored the lead role of Jeremy Jacob, a young boy who joins a pirate crew.

He then went on to play another pirate role in 2013 as Captain Morgan in “Jingle Arrgh the Way,” an SCCT Christmas production of Long’s pirate books. Another three years later and Stephenson is back where it all began – this time as a pirate who thinks he is a dog.

Stephenson said he spent two months developing the character for the role of Scurvy Dog, in the second time “How I Became a Pirate” is performing at the Peace Center.

“Learning how to balance being a pirate and a dog, the physical attributes, has been the most difficult,” he said. “You want to make it your own.”

Stephenson’s calling in theatre began at a young age. He started taking theatre classes in kindergarten and scored a small role in his first production, “Pinocchio.”

With support from his mother and help from Betsy Bisson, SCCT artistic and education director, he was able to land his first role at a SCCT show. “My mom and Betsy Bisson have been my biggest influences,” he said.

Outside of theatre, Stephenson also plays for the Greenville High School baseball team, is involved in Young Life and hopes to attend Clemson University in the fall to major in performing arts.

“How I Became a Pirate” opens on Feb. 5 at the Peace Center. Opening night will feature a pirate-theme party, and author Melinda Long will be signing books.


“How I Became a Pirate”


WHERE: Peace Center Gunter Theatre
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:30 p.m.
COST: Tickets: $18 to $27

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