A Month In Italy…In A Castle…
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SYNOPSIS London, 1922. It’s a miserable, rainy, dreary day in London and LOTTY WILKINS, a dowdy woman of about 30, is miserable and dreary in it. Longing for a respite from the rain, Lotty finds refuge in her women’s club where she happens upon an ad in the “Agony Column” in the London Times that reads: “To Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine. San Salvatore, a small medieval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April.” Lotty longs to be basking in wisteria and sunshine and leave her drab and tedious life behind, if only for a month Lotty befriends ROSE ARBUTHNOT, a rigid, reserved and sad sort of woman in her 30s, who yearns for a rest from her stifling duties and distant husband as much as Lotty. But they can’t possibly afford the castle by themselves, so advertise for companions to share the expense and are joined by two other ladies: MRS. FISHER a formidable and disapproving woman in her 60s, who wants only to sit in the sun to read and remember her receding youth; and LADY CAROLINE DESTER who longs for a place she can ponder life’s questions without the distraction of adoring suitors. They all agree to rent the castle for a month of blissful privacy. But the castle is more than they bargained for, and it’s wondrous enchantment affects Lotty immediately. Only in dreams has she dared to imagine such a place as she transforms from the mousey, stuttering housewife and blooms into a radiant, confident “seer of all things.” Wanting to share this “tub of love” she writes and invites her husband, MELLERSH, an ambitious solicitor, who finds himself charmed by not only “this place” but by his wife. Meanwhile, Rose is tormented by the beauty of the place, for it only reminds her of the rift between her and her husband, FREDRICK, a middle-aged writer of lurid novels. While on a book tour, Fredrick serendipitously arrives at San Salvatore to visit Lady Caroline, not even aware that Rose is at the castle. Amid the blossoms of fragrant wisteria, the hazy heat and sensuous silence, Lotty innocently and lovingly guides each lady through this place and past their loveless lives to rediscover their hearts. Rose reunites with her husband she had distanced herself from after the loss of their child; Mrs. Fisher embraces the present and the love and kindness it affords as she lets go of her past; and Lady Caroline finds a soulmate who sees her for what she finally admits she is: a stunning, yet spoilt, sour, suspicious and selfish spinster, and loves her despite it. In just a month, one short Enchanted April, the lives and hearts of four women are transfigured by wisteria…sunshine…and a small medieval castle. The show is about the redemptive power of love and friendship; of believing in the people around us to be able to better their lives through introspection and through the confidence of our belief that they can be happier than they are.
CASTING • DETAILS (5w 3m)
LOTTY WILKINS – (early 30s) – in the beginning is a mousey, dowdy, though, becoming woman who is a “seer” of things. She is candid, sincere and guileless, so much so that it both intrigues, charms and annoys. It’s her yearning for a respite from her dreary and loveless life that propels her toward the enchanted April where she blossoms into the confident, strong, desirable woman hidden beneath.
ROSE ARBUTHNOT – (mid-30s) – is a rigid, reserved and sad sort of woman constrained by restrictions and duties. She and her husband, whom she is unable to approach, have grown apart since the death of their only child. She longs for a bit of beauty in her life, a rest from her self-imposed obligations.
MRS. FISHER – (60s) – is a forthright and solid woman ensconced in a world of dark dusty old things and who is on the verge of being a “dusty old thing” herself. She does not “suffer fools gladly” and is intolerant of impertinence, idiocy and youth, and pines for a place she can sit and forget.
LADY CAROLINE DESTER – (late 20s) – a ravishing, yet melancholy beauty who has sustained her despondency with liquor and men, and only the liquor does she embrace. She is tired of her station, her life, her parents, her…everything and aches for a place she can ponder the existential questions facing her.
MELLERSH WILIKINS – (mid to late 30s) – is a handsome, distinguished an overbearing solicitor. Used to commanding his wife in all things, he has long since discounted her as a lost cause and had found an acceptable state of tolerance. Meticulous in his appearance and ambitious in nature, success and partnership is what he wants.
FREDERICK ARBUTHNOT – (early 40s) – is an amiable man hovering on the precipice of middle-age. With a slight paunch and kind face, he is confused by his current relationship with Rose and a bit baffled by her and her “causes.” A successful author of lurid novels, Frederick misses his wife…the wife he remembers from their youth and wonders if she will ever return to him.
THOMAS BRIGGS – (early 30s) – is a respectable-looking, bespectacled, solitary man. Wealthy, but unassuming, is smitten with Rose upon their first meeting. Assuming she is a war-widow, he wishes for the family and home he’s never had, and sees that possibility in Rose.
FRANCESCA – (50s) – is San Salvatore’s housekeeper and cook. Long-suffering with visitors to Italy, she does her best to feed and understand these odd English people.
- One Unit Set with several locations.
- Period Costumes: 1922 England/Italy
- About 2 hours.
PERUSAL SCRIPT EnchantedAprilPERUSALPAGES
“It was absolutely worth the experience—the story got my mind thinking about the 1920’s and how the experience of the Enchanted April female characters translates to contemporary women in the 2010’s.” —Katie Sullivan Porter, Utah Theatre Bloggers
“Elizabeth Hansen said she wanted to write a show that was beautifully simple and lyrical. With the help of C. Michael Perry, who wrote and directed the music, she succeeded.” —Heather Jones, Backstage Utah
“One of my favorite songs in the show, which is altogether too short is “Solicitors Wife”. It reminds me a bit of “Hymn to Him” from My Fair Lady in tone—a song that shows a very limited point of view and is ripe with sexism, but in a way that the audience knows how very misguided the singer is being. It’s a very clever song, perfectly illustrating Mellersh’s character and I wanted more!” —Kara Henry, Front Row Reviewers Utah
“Mellersh…transforms himself, while still keeping the essence of his original character. This is something I was quite impressed with throughout the production, and I praise director Elizabeth Hansen for. It’s not easy to have nearly every one of the characters go through that much of a transformation while not having them seem too different to have it out of bounds for the character. As the writer and the director, Hansen hit this balance well.” —Kara Henry, Front Row Reviewers Utah
“Hansen’s book was quite good too. There were so many unexpectedly funny moments in a show that could have been dowdy and slow. Overall, I felt this was a solid, solid show and certainly worth seeing.” —Kara Henry, Front Row Reviewers Utah
“Grab a Friend and Go Celebrate the Power of Friendship and Love!” —Kara Henry, Front Row Reviewers Utah
“This is that gal who came to your show THREE TIMES cause I loved it so much.:)I didn’t take the chance to write in your book, but I really did just want to congratulate you on your BEAUTIFUL adaptation of Elizabeth Von Arnim’s novel. It is truly my favorite story, and you adapted it perfectly. Thank you so much for producing this. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed it. I wish you great success.” — Sincerely, Clair Hamaker
“We have enjoyed reviewing your materials for ENCHANTED APRIL and are quite taken with the style of your writing. It is great to see this story adapted with heart into a musical…the premise of this piece is fascinating as a lively journey with a great message…” — The 5th Avenue Theatre New Works Program ”“Thank you for sharing Enchanted April – the Musical – with me. It’s a charming piece. I have every confidence that you’ll find a place for a work of this quality among the many non-profits here in NYC.” — Dan Wackerman, Artistic Director of the Peccadillo Theatre C0mpany, NYC
These are a mix of live performance recordings and studio demos.
The two demos below are of the full orchestrations of the Overture (which may seem to just end, but actually will SEGUE into the first song of the show) and the Entreacte. These are mp3s from the Finale Music Notation files.
Elizabeth Hansen is an actress, performer and writer of latitude. After graduating Cum Laude in Theatre Performance from the University of Utah, she journeyed to Los Angeles where she concentrated on her acting career. While there she was seen as the third sleazy Argentinian from the left in Evita (directed by Harold Prince), Oliver (directed by the acclaimed Onna White), Confetti (directed by Charles Nelson-Reilly), and Guys and Dolls (co-starring with Milton Berle). At the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., she co-starred with James Mason in his last theatre appearance, A Partridge in a Pear Tree. She then ventured to New York City and Broadway in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (directed by Tommy Tune) and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (choreographed by Thommie Walsh). Off-Broadway she was seen in The Miser (at the Equity Library Theatre) and in Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne (at Circle in the Square with Madeline Kahn). She was cast as Irene Molloy in the 20th anniversary production and National Tour of Hello, Dolly! co-starring with Carol Channing; and the National Tour of The King and I starring the late Rudolf Nureyev, as well as many guest television appearances. In 1983, in between acting gigs, her first play, “A Pearl of Great Price,” (which won her 1st runner-up honors in the Mid-South Playwrights Competition in Memphis) was produced Off-off Broadway. “Pearl” was followed by “A String of Pearls,” which has been produced both Off-off Broadway and regionally (and no, it was not the beginning of a “pearl” trilogy). Her latest play, “Tangents” was produced at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ to rave reviews. She then plunged into the world of film, returning to L.A. to get her MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. She stayed in L.A. long enough to win the prestigious Writers Guild of America Award, an EMMY nomination, and was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for excellence in children’s television programming, all for her work on the CBS Schoolbreak Special, “American Eyes.” Ms. Hansen spent six years teaching screenwriting and playwrighting at Brigham Young University, shap-ing their screenwriting program. While there she wrote and starred in a one woman play, “A High & Glorious Place,” about Mormon historical figure Eliza R. Snow. Subsequently she adapted the play to the film “Eliza & I” for the University’s PBS affiliate. She also wrote and directed the short film, “The Sisters of Bethany,” a coproduction of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts and the LDS Motion Picture Studio. While teaching, she continued to write and has won the following writing awards and screenplay competitions: Crystal Award What’s Wrong With Bob – Video West Prod. – 1997 Crystal Award Benefits: Possible – Video West Prod. – 1998 Telly Award Classroom – Foundation For A Better Life – 2006 Women in Film & Video N.E. – 2nd Place – Fang, Fang, You’re Dead! – 2010 Page Screenwriting CompQuarter Finalist – The Last Kill – 2009 Scriptapalooza Comp. Semifinalist – The Last Kill – 2009 Scr(i)pt Magazine Open Door Comp. Second Round Finalist – The High Road aka Orphans 11 – 2003 Texas Film Institute Inaugural Screenwriting Competition – 1st Place – Decoration Day aka Coming Home – 1999 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition 4th Place – All These Places aka – Coming Home – 1999 She took up stage directing in 2010 and debuted by directing the musical “Big River” at Sundance Summer Theatre (to rave reviews), rewrote and directed Mozart’s “The Impresario” shortly after, and in 2011, directed “Madama Butterfly”; in 2012 “La Traviata;” in 2013 “La Boheme;” and in 2015 “The Barber of Seville,” all for the Utah Lyric Opera. She’s also completed, with C. Michael Perry, a musical adaptation of the novel, “The Enchanted April,” called, oddly enough, “Enchanted April” (www.EnchantedAprilAMusical.com). They are currently working on adapting Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth.” In 2015 she ascended to the role of Executive Director of Utah Lyric Opera.
C. Michael Perry was born in Colorado and raised in Chicago. He found the theatre at age 14 and has made all or part of his living in theatre, film and television since the age of 16, with his first professional job as a stagehand in a Chicago theatre. He has worked major network television shows, and many commercials, and several Shows for PBS and ABC, along with three independent films. As an Actor/Performer he has played in front of live audiences from Chicago to Utah to Canada to Germany and Italy in various plays and musicals. He has received acting awards for his many leading and supporting roles. He has served as Director for over 60 shows on the Community, Educational and Professional level. During the late-1970s and early-1980s he worked in Television on the “The Donny and Marie Show” and “The Osmond Family Hour” and many other specials, working directly with such stars as Buddy Hackett, Andy Griffith, Bob Hope, Paul Lynde, Robert Conrad, Rene Auberjonois, Peter Coyote, Barnard Hughes, and even was a dialogue coach for Dame Judith Anderson, and choreographer for a number performed by Dick Van Dyke. As a Choreographer he has prepared over 50 productions. His Musical Direction and Vocal Coaching has won accolades. He has won awards for lighting and scenic designs at all levels. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in Theatre. He taught High School theatre for 14 years, producing 4 shows and 2 competitions per year, with many students winning competitions and receiving scholarships. He is the Composer/Lyricist and/or Playwright of over fifty plays and musicals including “CINDERABBIT” for PBS, which won an Emmy Award and a “Best Of The West” Public Television award. Most of his plays and award winning musicals have been produced across the nation and many have been produced internationally. Many are also published. He is currently at work on several new musicals, “COMING HOME: A CHRISTMAS STORY,” “LAND OF OZ,” plus “CHRISTMAS ON THE BLUE,” and “THE HOUSE OF MIRTH” with Elizabeth Hansen. He is a member of The New England Theatre Conference, Maine Arts Commission, The New England Foundation for the Arts, Theta Alpha Phi, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and has been a member of The Educational Theatre Association, The International Thespian Society, Associated Latter-day Media Artists (ALMA), Christians In Theatre Arts, The Texas Educational Theatre Association, The Utah Theatre Association, Rocky Mountain Theatre Association, Ohio Community Theatre Association, Southwest Theatre Association, and The American Alliance for Theatre In Education. He has served as the President of the Theatre Guild Of Utah Valley in central Utah. For thirty years, until its sale in 2008, he was President of Encore Performance Publishing of Orem/Salt Lake City, Utah, which he founded — a publisher of plays and musicals for amateur, educational and professional markets, now owned by Eldridge Plays and Musicals. He also worked as the VP of Sales and Marketing for General Theatrical Supply of Salt Lake City. He has done freelance writing for Scottsdale MultiMedia. He is the Owner/Publisher of Leicester Bay Books, Zion BookWorks, Leicester Bay Theatricals and Zion Theatricals and Shining Sharon Music. He is the Author of two fantasy adventure series: THE CHILDREN OF THE ORB, and ON THE EDGES OF TIME, plus “FLASHES AND SHADOWS — The Tale That Shattered Summerville” a Young Adult Detective Novel. In various stages of development are: “SWEETWATER SALVATION,” An Historical Fiction, “AMCANICO: The Children of the Apocalypse — A Retrospective of the Future,” and “THE NIGHT SHIFT,” a Teen-Paranormal Fiction, “ANGEL,” an Historical Fiction of the Civil War, and “THE POD CITY OF PALAK III,” a Science Fiction Adventure. He makes his home in Newport, Maine with his wife Sharon. His daughters, Jessica, Janalynn, Joelle and son Jon-Christopher, are out on their own; married and such!
- Theatre Row – 42nd Street in NYC (Equity Production) — November 2019
- Covey Center for the Arts, Provo — Hale Center Theatre, West Valley City (Staged Reading)– July 2014
- The Covey Center for the Arts, in Provo (Full Production) — 2013
- Weber State University (Workshop reading ) — 2007
- Utah Valley University (Workshop Production) — 2006
The LOBBY CARD from the NYC Production at Theatre Row