Shows M

MIRETTE Based on Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully: Lyrics by: Tom Jones: Music by: Harvey Schmidt Goodspeed Musicals, Chester, Connecticut, - Goodspeed-at-Chester/The Norma Terris Theatre, August 1 - 25, 2005 The York Theatre Company, NYC - December 2005 SYNOPSIS The popular award-winning children’s book is now a stirring, intimate chamber musical by the authors of “The Fantasticks.” Set in 1890s Paris, “Mirette” tells of the most unusual friendship between a strong-willed ten year-old girl and a jaded tightrope walker. Young Mirette is delighted when she discovers her mother’s grumpy new boarder is none other than the Great Bellini, whose glorious tightrope-walking days were cut short when he lost his nerve. Demonstrating an innate talent for balancing, she convinces the reluctant Bellini – against her mother’s wishes – to teach her his craft. But when Bellini, determined not to disappoint the girl, stages a comeback performance only to find himself paralysed with fear, it is Mirette who must climb the wire and help him regain his courage. With minimal production demands, an inspiring story and charming characters who will steal your audience’s hearts (including the spunky title role and the gruff man whose icy exterior she breaks), “Mirette” joins the ranks of Schmidt and Jones shows that are sheer theatrical poetry. STORY Act One The City of Paris in 1899. A young girl sits high above the city, ready for a new adventure (“Sitting on the Edge”). She disappears as her mother, Madame Gateau, enters doing chores. Madame Gateau introduces her hotel that is special for theatre people who need a place to stay. The guests appear one at a time and introduce themselves: Mme. Rouspenskaya, a Russian folk singer; Tabac the juggler; Clouk and Claire, the acrobatic duo; Gaby the aspiring ballerina; and Camembert the comic. They are all very happy at Madame Guteau’s hotel and love her daughter Mirette. Mirette enjoys hearing all their stories and doesn’t mind waiting on them during their stay. They depend on her (“Madame Gateau’s Colourful Hotel”). Later that day, Claire confides in Mirette that she wants to give up performing and move to the country. She is envious of Mirette’s secure and safe life, although Mirette can’t understand this – she longs for adventure and asks Mme. Rouspenskaya how someone knows whether they have special talent. She replies that they must be discovered, and that the talent must be nurtured. Mirette and Rouspenskaya wonder what might lie in Mirette’s future (“Maybe”). As Mirette is working at the front desk, a dark and mysterious man enters. His name is Paul Bellini, and he gives three months’ rent in advance for a tiny room in the basement. Mirette questions him and learns that he is not an actor but travels frequently. We learn from Mirette that her father died in Brazil after leaving her and her mother. Paul is unsettled by the girl’s directness and after she shows him to his room, he asks her to leave. Alone, he reflects on his life and his need to keep running away (“Someone in the Mirror”). The lights come up on Rouspenskaya, who is practicing a cappella (“Irkutsk”). During the song, Rouspenskaya is continually interrupted by Camembert, the older clown, who has bought a porcelain box for Gaby. He is smitten with her, but he gets no attention from her. Madame adds that Gaby cannot hate him because that would require her to think about him and she does not. Camembert agrees and adds that they are both too old and ugly for love. In a rage, Rouspenskaya calls him a peasant and leaves. Mirette is hanging laundry outside when she sees Bellini practicing a tightrope walk in the courtyard. He