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Main Street Musicals

 

MainStreet Evaluations

Liberty (1113F)

| script | score | snap shot | cast description | synopsis |

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SnapShot

  • TITLE OF WORK: Liberty
  • SELECT ONE: Adapted from a work in the Public Domain
  • MUSICAL STYLE: Broadway,Opera,Classical flavor consistent with style of the Statue
  • NATURE: Comedy,Drama,Romance,Educational,
    INTENDED AUDIENCE: General
  • STRUCTURE: Some spoken dialogue: Mostly sung
  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 2:30 est.
  • DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: Currently arranged for piano and two synthesizers. The piano is so integral, I wonder if placing a grand piano on stage with a candelabra might be appropriate.
  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: Though Liberty, when common, is valued poorly (and when rare, yearned for), as any woman, Liberty is ALIVE as the greatest, most powerful invention of Mankind.
  • NUMBER OF SETS: 1 to 22

Cast Description

LABOULAYE (Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye), “a delicate, olive-skinned man.  Kindness radiated from his beardless face, gentle and eloquent under thinning brown hair, which smoothly fell onto his neck.  Except at dinner, one never saw Laboulaye without his frock coat, buttoned up to the chin.  At first sight, the scholar looked like an abbe.  He was a member of the Institute, professor of law, businessman, popular author, chairman of the French Anti-slavery Committee, and America’s most ardent advocate in France.” (Pauli)  The father of the French Third Republic.

BARTHOLDI  (Auguste Bartholdi), Sculptor of the Statue. 30s.  “He is the sort of character Jules Verne might have invented.  Imagine discussing with a few friends, over dinner one evening, that you wanted to commemorate America’s democracy in some way, a fairly vague discussion that will one day result in the creation of the greatest statue on earth, a structure taller than any ever attempted before, in a distant land where you have never set foot and know no one, then pursuing that vision with boundless persistence and enthusiasm for the next twenty years!” (Blanchet).

CHARLOTTE (Charlotte Bartholdi) Auguste’s mother, the face of the statue.

Four Cameos which can be played by the same actor

GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI, the military leader of Italian history who drove out the foreigners and united the country, for the first time, under one king, Victor Emanuel II, then went home, reusing any reward.  Freedom fighter for many world causes. “Not at all intellectual…believed and declaimed … extraordinarily innocent in some respects … no bad ruler…There has been no greater master of guerilla warfare and none more successful.” (Encyclopedia Brittanica)

COUNT de CHAMBORD, the Legitimist Pretender to the French Throne.

GUSTAV EIFFEL, the architect and builder of the Statue’s understructure, later the builder of Paris’ great Tower.

JOSEPH PULITZER, Publisher of the New York WORLD newspaper and establisher of the Pulitzer Prize.  He saved the statue by raising the money to complete the base by running an unprecedented campaign in which he published the name of every contributor.

JEANNE (Jeanne-Emilie Baheux de Puysieux), model for the Statue, later Auguste’s wife

DR. TRUTH, a persecuted French journalist, Leader of the Chorus of Tempest-Tossed Wretches, also the chief of Gendarmes of all Paris (Character from Laboulaye’s novel Paris In America).

AUBERT, Prefect of Police, later a hungry and ambitious politician, the villain of this piece.

LAFAYETTE (Paul de Remusat), the great grand-nephew of the Marquis de Lafayette. “At  33 had seen America, wrote for the Debate, and was making a name for himself by a rather lively opposition to the regime” (Pauli) Lover of women.

CHORUS of (in different scenes) Tempest-Tossed Wretches, Ancient Egyptians, Gendarmes, French Upper-Class Imperial Ball attendees, Gaget-Gauthier Shop Workers, emigres.

The cast for the Studio musical CD production numbered only seven.
The “proposed” cast for a staged reading:

  1. BARTHOLDI lyric tenor (e.g., Mario Lanza)
  2. LAFAYETTE comic baritone
  3. JEANNE lyric soprano
  4. CHARLOTTE alto
  5. LABOULAYE baritone
  6. AUBERT comic baritone (e.g., Cyril Ritchard)
  7. GARIBALDI/CHAMBORD/EIFFEL/PULITZER baritone/bass/talk to music
  8. DOCTOR TRUTH non-singing
  9. Chorus1 soprano
  10. Chorus2 mezzo soprano
  11. Chorus3 mezzo soprano or alto, with “belt”
  12. Chorus4 tenor
  13. Chorus5 tenor
  14. Chorus6 baritone
  15. Chorus7 bass

The cast for a full stage production probably requires a minimum of 18 but more comfortably 24.

Synopsis

Clearing a mystery, Bartholdi, dying sculptor, recounts how three men with diverse obsessions (colossal statuary, Liberty, women) conceived and built a gigantic statue (one somehow “alive” to him) 3,000 miles away to help secure French freedoms.  Laboulaye, chief plotter (lover of Liberty) hatches the plot with Bartholdi and Lafayette (lover of women). Aubert (Prefect) is the villainous megalomaniac symbolizing Old World Nobility and Power. Framed by the plight of the oppressed in France, and interrupted by a war, there is a Cinderella-like romance repressed by Bartholdi’s overbearing mother, Charlotte. Bartholdi embraces Liberty (the Idea) in reaction to war’s killing, which he experiences with the “superman” Garibaldi, and finds The Spot for the Statue, as well as Jeanne. Somehow Lafayette thwarts Aubert’s plotted Restoration by focusing sentiment for the Tricolor.

Jeanne poses for various designs of the Statue and passion emerges, though Charlotte becomes The Face. Bartholdi brings the statue’s Torch and Hand to America, but, torn apart, sends for the “common” Jeanne to marry, deceiving Charlotte. Eiffel builds the superstructure, but, hearing the workers’ vision, he leaves it open as a cathedral. The aging Charlotte passes to Jeanne the pushing of Bartholdi. Meanwhile Pulitzer takes over the aborted funding of the statue’s pedestal, while Aubert tries unsuccessfully to bring a Napoleonic emperor to power. Then Aubert plots to take power himself, and as revenge and a symbolic sea-change, Aubert plants explosives in the Statue. As the crowd awaits the Unveiling, there is a struggle, in which somehow Aubert is struck down by the (electric) power of Liberty. 

Amidst the spectacular celebration at the Unveiling (including Lazarus’ poem), suddenly we return to Bartholdi, dying. When he closes his eyes, he sees her, Liberty. As he dies, Jeanne hysterically embracing him, the room is flooded with the dazzling light (of Liberty?!).

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