Medieval Times cast queen as lead for first time in history

PHOTO: Erin Zapcic as the queen on horseback during a performance at Medieval Times in New Jersey.PlayMedieval Times
WATCH Medieval Times casts female lead for first time in show's history

Long live the queen!

After 34 years of casting a king as the lead, the Medieval Times has featured a queen in charge.

Erin Zapcic, who has performed with Medieval Times for seven years, most recently as the princess, debuted as the inaugural queen in New Jersey last week.

"I was feeling prepared, but nothing prepares you for how the audience is going to respond when you first make that entrance on the horse," Zapcic told ABC News of her grand entrance. "But it's a good nervous. I feel a sense of responsibility to the audience and like a role model now more than ever."

Jaci Hernandez, the marketing and sales manager at the Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Medieval Times location, told ABC News that the plan to feature a matriarch was 18 months in the making.

PHOTO: Performers take part in a dinner theater at Medieval Times in Toronto, Canada, May 13, 2015.Toronto Star via Getty Images
Performers take part in a dinner theater at "Medieval Times" in Toronto, Canada, May 13, 2015.

The fresh storyline first debuted at the Dallas location in October, followed by Chicago and Lyndhurst.

"In a major break from Medieval Times’ 34-year tradition of casting a king as the show’s lead role, the company will launch a new production ... which features a queen now in charge and sole ruler of the land," the company wrote in a press release.

"Where previously our female characters played in more supportive roles, we are now showing a woman fully in charge, a woman whose authority is sometimes challenged, but she quickly rises to the occasion as a strong leader, squelching opposition," Ingrid Hunt, Medieval Times senior general manager said in a press release.

"She is cast as a firm but kind ruler respected throughout the kingdom who inherited the throne at the passing of her father, the previous king," the statement continued.

PHOTO: Performers take part in a dinner theater at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Jan. 4, 2015.Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Performers take part in a dinner theater at "Medieval Times" in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Jan. 4, 2015.

Zapcic said her male cast of knights and former kings have been "really supportive" of her new role and she enjoys sharing the same energy from the crowd that those roles have felt for so many years.

"It's really humbling to be a part of and what we're going to see is a generation of young women who can look up to this," Zapcic said.

The change to a woman lead comes as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have gained steam in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual assaults and harassments across different industries.

The decision to put a strong female at the helm of the show came in response to audience feedback.

"We were really ahead of the curve in that sense," Zapcic said.

Hernandez added that they listened very closely to reviews and other forms of feedback requesting a greater female presence in the last year.

PHOTO: Performers take part in a dinner theater at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Jan. 4, 2015.Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Performers take part in a dinner theater at "Medieval Times" in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Jan. 4, 2015.

"Customers were saying that they wanted to see a woman more involved in the show," Hernandez said.

So far, Hernandez and Zapcic said the response has been overwhelmingly positive across the board.

"The energy from folks coming through has been really exciting," Zapcic said, adding that her social media accounts have drawn scores of new followers.

The remaining six Medieval Times locations will change their scripts in the coming months and weeks, Hernandez said.

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