An overtly bisexual, sword-wielding lady sneaks into a convent, rescues her involuntarily cloistered girlfriend, steals the corpse of a useless nun, and sets the abbey ablaze to protect their escape. No, this isn’t really the opening scene of HBO Max’s hottest ultraviolent strike nor is it the plot of a guide DeSantis’ minions have taken off from college libraries. Alternatively, it really is basically a person in a extended listing of unbelievable-but-true episodes in the lifetime of Julie d’Aubigny, the outrageous late 17th-century opera star known as “La Maupin.”
D’Aubigny’s more substantial-than-lifetime tale is largely overlooked now, regardless of remaining the subject matter of numerous novels and plays, but this weekend Rogue Stage aims to make some sound on her behalf with their concert looking at of Queen of Swords. I a short while ago spoke with Thom Mesrobian, co-author of the new rock musical, about the prolonged street to its debut on March 24 and 25 for the duration of Timucua’s 2023 WordPlay Festival and his large hopes for its long run.
Mesrobian is the producing director of Rogue Phase (“Polk County’s experienced theater organization”), and in the beginning grabbed Orlando Fringe audiences’ notice with button-pushing parodies like 2014’s FrankenChrist: The Musical and 2016’s Trump/Hamilton parody Simpleton. More lately, he created and starred in the 2022 Critics Decision Award-profitable Be a Pirate, which Mesrobian calls a “thinly veiled autobiography of my have everyday living, the place I had my desire of getting a skilled actor deferred right until the age of 40.”
Sixteen a long time later, Mesrobian has worked for Disney and each and every other topic park, and is still employed as an entertainer at the Florida Aquarium — despite his actor father’s opposition to Mesrobian subsequent in his footsteps.
“The opinions I had on Be a Pirate was humbling,” claims Mesrobian. “I experienced just one male inform me that it didn’t just adjust the way he thought about storytelling, but the way he believed about being a father. … I consider it just resonates with every person — particularly artists — who are often having difficulties with ‘what I want to be’ as opposed to ‘what I have to do.'”
A related stress drew Mesrobian to Julie d’Aubigny’s tale, which he commenced building into a musical in 2016 following stumbling upon a YouTube video clip recounting her extra fantastical exploits. The cross-dressing prima donna of the Paris Opera was notorious for singing arias even though dueling her conquests’ cuckolded husbands, and her arson-abetted escape (described earlier mentioned) immediately screamed “rock & roll” to Mesrobian. So he turned to his Simpleton collaborator, Ben Shepler (whom he very first created a romantic relationship with even though working at the now-defunct Holy Land Working experience), who provided a track he’d prepared for his punk band in the early aughts. “It was just the audio that I wished for the clearly show. I read it, I was like, ‘that’s it.’ I commenced writing lyrics to it. 3 several hours afterwards, I experienced recorded them and send it back again to him, and that was our to start with track.”
That preliminary burst of creativeness was adopted by “a ton of analysis on her lifetime and what she knowledgeable, making an attempt to separate legend from reality, [and also] a lot of listening to my LGBT close friends to recognize what it would have been like to be a member of that local community in the 1600s.” At first intended as a quickly Fringe followup to Simpleton, Mesrobian promptly located “that was just too restricting I essential a cast of 20 [and] two and a 50 % hrs to tell all the stories. There’s no way to slash it down and do her justice.” In the close, he and Shepler have assembled 20 tunes and “a great-sized e book,” which they hope will arrive in underneath the three-in addition several hours of the initially model they previewed 5 several years back.
When preceding workshops of Queen of Swords had been directed by Mark Hartfield, artistic director of Rogue Stage, this concert model is staged by acclaimed director Tara Kromer. “I felt it was genuinely critical to get some variety into the imaginative team, to get some unique voices to communicate and to interpret the story,” says Mesrobian, who only realized Kromer by name right before approaching her to helm this task. “I am all about collaboration I understand my personal limitations and what I can do, and that there is a lot of other individuals close to me who are as superior or greater at points than I am.”
That sentiment extends to Mesrobian’s partnership with Shepler, whom he credits with getting the primary melodies he “bangs out” on keyboard (which he admits “all have a tendency to audio like Journey or Gin Blossoms”) and “bring[ing] that pop-rock and punk-rock sensibility into the demonstrate.” He compares the style collision of Versailles and rock opera to Hamilton’s mashup of the Founding Fathers with hip-hop, and envisions that in a absolutely staged creation “the total aesthetic of the display is going to be this blending of French type and all the things from rock to ’80s New Wave.”
This Timucua concert is just the latest stage in Queen of Swords’ saga, which also consists of a 6-track EP introduced on-line in 2021. Mesrobian hopes traders or producers will go to this weekend’s live shows and share his eyesight for the place the show could someday go: “One working day I noticed the story of Hadestown, which commenced as a six-song folk music EP,” claims Mesrobian. “They done in a hollowed-out bus in Vermont, and then 10 years later on it gained the Tony Award. If individuals can do that with Hadestown, I imagine I can do that with this exhibit. I believe that that much in the tale.”