Musical (1983)

Musique: Stephen Oliver
Paroles: Tim Rice
Livret: Tim Rice
Production à la création:

Blondel was one of the first musicals Tim Rice wrote outside the extraordinarily successful partnership with Andrew Lloyd Weber. Teaming up with the brilliant young composer Stephen Oliver, who had written the music for the RSC’s breathtaking adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby, they took on the legend of the twelfth century troubadour Blondel.

The musical follows the trials and triumphs of Blondel, an ambitious minstrel in King Richard The Lionheart's court desperately trying for a chart-topping song. Blondel and his long-suffering girlfriend Fiona undertake a mulit-nation search when King Richard is taken captive during the Crusades. They rescue him and return to England just in time to prevent the coronation of his shifty brother Prince John.

Act I
The opening words of the musical (above) as sung by a group of Monks explain the situation ("Monks' Introduction"). Blondel is an unappreciated musician trying to make his big break by writing a song for the King, Richard the Lionheart. Fiona, his girlfriend, feels that it's a waste of time to write for the King as the monarchy can't possibly be around for much longer. Even though she does enjoy the tune, she suggests he get a real job to help support her. Blondel explains that he can't. He says that he "nearly hit big with 'Send in the Jesters'" and feels a breakthrough coming and to give up now would be impossible. Fiona leaves Blondel and decides to take her well-being into her own hands. ("Blondel and Fiona/I'm a Monarchist")

The Monks open the Ministry of Feudal Affairs ("incorporating the Departments of Unemployment, the Environment, Social Security, and Gratuitous Executions"), which is "presided over by HRH Prince John" at which Fiona promptly shows to ask for her freedom. Unwilling and unable to pay the fee, Fiona is first denied her request by Prince John and later denied it by the King who explains that "running this joint's not as cheap as it looks". Fiona is swept aside in order for the King to announce that he will be embarking on the Crusade and that John will be in charge while the King is away. Fiona is enraged by this notion as it will expend more money to go on the Crusade than it would to grant her freedom and she leaves the court. ("The Ministry of Feudal Affairs") Fiona and Blondel soon find themselves together again. He manages to convince her that his song for the King will grant them all their wishes and she agrees to help him. ("The Least of My Troubles")

"Thus reunited, what a touching scene" the Monks proclaim as Fiona and Blondel set off to meet the King at Dover before he embarks on his journey. Once there Blondel is unable to present his song to Richard as the King is anxious to leave and doesn't have time for such things. Richard suggests Blondel should take it up with John instead and the Crusaders leave for the Holy Land. ("Lionheart") Back at the Ministry of Feudal Affairs, Blondel and Fiona present the song to John who promptly throws the song away and proclaims that all songs should from now on be dedicated to him and not Richard. ("No Rhyme for Richard") John then tasks Blondel to write a song about him but Blondel refuses, saying it's an important job but that his heart's just not in it. Fiona is outraged by Blondel's refusal of work saying that this is the break he's been waiting for. As Blondel lists his reasons for not wanting to write a song dedicated to his Prince, both John and Fiona grow increasingly angered. The scene culminates in John banishing Blondel to the Continent and declaring "snub a prince but realize you've sunk a singing career". ("Trio")

Promptly realizing he's made a mistake by sending Blondel after Richard, John's mood becomes depressed. A mysterious man appears by John's side and offers to take care of the problem for him, for a price, but misidentifies the target as Blondel and can't identify the real target, the King, at all.

Once all is set straight, the Assassin sets off on Richard's trail. ("Assassin's Song") The act closes with Fiona, realizing that Blondel doesn't love her as much as he loves his music and that she'll never get the kind of social change she wants. Even through her realizations, Fiona decides to chase after Blondel, unsure of what she's actually looking for. ("Running Back for More")

Act II
Act Two opens on the Continent, Blondel in hot pursuit of King Richard. Blondel journeys though France, Spain, and Italy wowing crowds of natives with his music and searching high and low for his King ("Have you seen my King?" "NO!") but to no avail. As the trek continues, Blondel begins to lose hope that he'll ever find Richard. Meanwhile, the Assassin chases after Blondel, his patience with the troubadour's music thinning. At the point of giving up on the chase, Blondel runs into Fiona who tells him that Richard is being held prisoner in Austria by Duke Leopold and the pair take off to find the King together. ("Blondel in Europe")

While sitting in prison, Richard laments about his situation and longs for the days of the Crusade when he was free to do as he pleased. Back in London, John, pleased with his own cleverness and handiwork, prepares himself for becoming King of England. ("Saladin Days/I Can't Wait to be King") Arriving in Salzburg, the pursuers come to rest in an inn just before completing the last leg of the journey to the King's cell. The Assassin admits that he's becoming extremely discouraged by the whole situation and that the "job is killing me". Blondel on the other hand has a renewed sense of ambition and refuses to give up declaring that the King will soon be found. Fiona suggests that lingering would not behoove anyone at this point and they should press on before time has run out though she is still unsure whether or not she really wants to help. The Assassin decides that he'd "rather murder Prince John" but will soldier on while John announces that Richard has died on his Crusade and that he will be assuming the throne of England. ("The Inn at Salzburg/Blondel's Search")

Having found the King in his prison, Fiona decides to speak with the Duke of Austria about letting Richard go and the Assassin nears his victim, poised for the murder. The Duke dictates a letter to Prince John, demanding a million-crown ransom. Fiona sweet-talks and flatters the Duke in order to get him to release Richard, which the Duke agrees to. ("The Duke of Austria's Quarter") Ready to give up the search, Blondel, quite by accident, runs into Richard. With Richard now released, the Duke's English visitors make their way out of the castle but just as they're about to walk out the door, the Duke has a sudden change of heart and decides that he's not going to let them go after all. The Duke will only let Blondel and Richard go if Fiona will stay with him in Austria. Unwilling to stay with Leopold, Fiona tricks him into walking outside toward someone she says is better-suited for him at which point the Assassin, seeing the crown on the Duke's head, attacks, killing him. Richard, Blondel, and Fiona declare it to be "a most important day" and decide it's time to go back to England. However, before they leave, Fiona demands a pardon and her freedom from the King in exchange for keeping her mouth shut about the monarchy to which the King agrees reluctantly. Meanwhile, the Assassin, having killed the wrong man, laments about his "first failure" and wonders if he can make a comeback. However he goes on to discover that he didn't even really kill the Duke ("Leopold is a-okay") and the two men find comfort in the other's mistakes. ("The Cell")

Blondel, Fiona, and Richard make their way back to England where John is proceeding with his plans to become King. Having declared Richard dead, John impatiently awaits his coronation. At the moment before the crown is placed on John's head, Richard bursts through the doors and puts a swift end to the illegal ceremony. ("Westminster Abbey") Having stopped his brother's coronation, Richard declares Blondel the "country's foremost composer" and at last allows him to perform his song. With the help of the Blondettes, Blondel becomes the pop sensation he'd been waiting to become. ("I'm a Monarchist (Reprise)") Having been absolved their indiscretions and declared friends and heores of the monarchy, Blondel and Fiona renew their relationship and declare their love for each other. ("Running Back for More (Reprise)")

Tim Rice first envisioned the idea for a show about the Crusades in the early days of his partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Andrew and Tim had done some work on it, entitling the project "Come Back Richard Your Country Needs You". It was performed as an oratorio at the City of London School in 1969 directed by Alan Doggett. Also in 1969 a single of the title song was recorded with Tim as lead vocalist and backed with the unrelated "Roll On Over The Atlantic". After this, however, the idea for a musical about the Crusades sank back into obscurity.

Tim Rice first met Stephen Oliver, who had composed for the opera and the RSC, when they both served on a panel at the Sydney Arts Festival in 1977. In 1982 they began collaboration to bring the idea of a musical about King Richard into a reality. Now titled Blondel, the show centered around Richard's minstrel, Blondel, who embarks on a quest to find his missing king . . . while at the same time trying to make it big as a pop singer and songwriter.

London Stage
Blondel opened in Bath on September 12, 1983 and soon moved to Manchester where it stayed for two weeks before moving to the newly-refurbished Old Vic on November 2. Lord Olivier spoke the prologue at a Gala performance on 8 November. The show remained at the Old Vic for eleven months before moving to the Aldwych on London's West End. Because of high production costs and decreasing revenues, Blondel closed in the Aldwych after only eight months.
Original Cast
• Blondel - Paul Nicholas
• Fiona - Sharon Lee-Hill
• Richard - Stephen Tate
• John - David Burt
• The Assassin - Chris Langham
• Leopold - Kevin Williams
• The Monks - Cantabile (group)
The London revival of the show opened at the Pleasance Theatre on 23 November 2006. The production saw the show revamped and rearranged by Tim Rice and director Patrick Wilde. Young composer Mathew Pritchard took Stephen Oliver's original score and completely rearranged the work, also adding new material. The story was sharpened, particularly in the second act, to produce a punchier (and funnier) version particularly well suited for an ensemble production.

2006 London Cast
• Blondel - Chris Grierson
• Fiona - Abi Finley
• Richard - Mark Inscoe
• John - Matt Harrop
• The Assassin - Napoleon Ryan
• Leopold - David Paul West
• Monks - James Durrant, Gavin James, Charlie Tighe, Nick Trumble
• The Blondettes - Zoe Harrison, Polli Redston, Rebecca Seale

Blondel in the United States
The first production of Blondel in the United States was staged at the University of Texas in El Paso by the Union Dinner Theatre. It opened on April 11, 1985. Blondel was again produced in the United States by Farmingdale High School in Long Island, New York during May 1985. Both productions were attended by Tim Rice. Since the mid-1980s, Blondel has been produced by theaters and amateur groups all around the world but has yet to take its place on the Broadway stage.

Act I
Monks' Introduction - The Monks
Blondel and Fiona/I'm a Monarchist - Blondel, Fiona, the Blondettes^
The Creative Process - Blondel (not in 2006 revival)
How Long Can Someone Wait - Fiona
I'm a Monarchist - Blondel, the Blondettes
Artistes Are Tragic and Sensitive Souls - Blondel, Fiona, the Blondettes
The Ministry of Feudal Affairs - Fiona, Richard, John, the Monks^
The Ministry of Feudal Affaris - The Monks
Fiona's Plea to John - Fiona, John
Richard's Intervention - Richard (not in 2006 revival)
Economic Acrostic - Fiona, Richard, John (not in 2006 revival)
Crusade Rally - Fiona, Richard, John
The Least of My Troubles - Blondel, Fiona
Lionheart - Richard, the Monks
No Rhyme for Richard - John
Trio - Blondel, Fiona, John (not in 2006 revival)
Assassin's Song - John, the Assassin
Running Back for More - Fiona, the Monks, the Blondettes

Act II
Blondel in Europe - Blondel, Fiona, the Assassin, the Monks, the Blondettes
Saladin Days/I Can't Wait to be King - Richard, John, the Monks^
Saladin Days - Richard, the Monks
I Can't Wait to be King - John
The Inn at Salzburg/Blondel's Search - Blondel, Fiona, Richard, John, the Assassin, the Monks^
The Inn at Salzburg - Blondel, Fiona, the Assassin, the Monks
Blondel's Search - Blondel, Fiona, Richard, John, the Assassin, the Monks
The Duke of Austria's Quarters - Fiona, the Assassin, the Duke, the Monks
The Cell - Blondel, Fiona, Richard, the Assassin, the Duke^
Reunion - Blondel, Fiona, Richard
Death of a Statesman - Blondel, Fiona, Richard, the Assassin, the Duke
Tribute to a Statesman - Blondel, Fiona, Richard
A Royal Pardon - Blondel, Fiona, Richard
The Wrong Train - The Assassin, the Duke
Westminster Abbey - Richard, John, the Monks^
John's Coronation - John, the Monks
Richard's Return - Richard
I'm a Monarchist (Reprise) - Blondel, the Blondettes
Running Back for More (Reprise) - Blondel, Fiona

Blondel - A monarchist and unappreciated musician waiting, rather frustratedly, for his big break.
Fiona - His girlfriend, a serf of the English court and English activist eight centuries ahead of her time.
King Richard the Lionheart - The courageous King of England.
Prince John - The power-hungry and ambitious Prince of England and heir to the throne.
The Assassin - A hired hand willing to kill anyone for the right price.
The Duke of Austria - Leopold, the ruler of Austria, and captor of King Richard.
The Monks - A group of historians who serve as narrators and commentators.
The Blondettes - Blondel's back-up singers.

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Blondel

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Blondel

Version 1

Blondel (1983-09-Theatre Royal-Bath)

Type de série: Pre-London Try Out
Théâtre: Theatre Royal (Bath - Angleterre)
Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 08 September 1983
Première: 08 September 1983
Dernière: 24 September 1983
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Sharon Lee-Hill (Fiona), Stephen Tate (Richard), David Burt (John), Chris Langham (Assassin)

Version 2

Blondel (1983-10-Palace Theatre-Manchester)

Type de série: Pre-London Try Out
Théâtre: Palace Theatre (Manchester - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : 28 September 1983
Première: 28 September 1983
Dernière: 08 October 1983
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Sharon Lee-Hill (Fiona), Stephen Tate (Richard), David Burt (John), Chris Langham (Assassin)

Version 3

Blondel (1983-11-Old Vic-London)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Old Vic (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 2 mois
Nombre : 87 représentations
Première Preview : 02 November 1983
Première: 09 November 1983
Dernière: 14 January 1984
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Stephen Tate (King Richard), David Burt (Prince John), Chris Langham (Assassin), Sharon Lee Hill (Fiona), Richard Bryan, Stewart Collins, Nicholas Ibbotson, Michael Steffan (Monks)
Commentaires : The performance on 8 November 1983 was a Special Gala Performance staged in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Blondel was the opening performance of the newly refurbished Old Vic Theatre and was the first of that season's subscription season - an idea that the new owner, Ed Mirvish, had imported from his theatre in Toronto, Canada where he claimed that 85% of seats where sold in advance to subscribers.
Although man critics found the plot muddled and confused, the chorus of monks was a great success and the show did develop a kind of cult following. It was chosen to re-open the Old Vic after the theatre had undergone a major renovation under its new owner, the Canadian “Honest” Ed Mirvisch. It transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in January 1984.

Version 4

Blondel (1984-01-Aldwych Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Aldwych Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 8 mois
Nombre : 278 représentations
Première Preview : 21 January 1984
Première: 21 January 1984
Dernière: 22 September 1984
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Stephen Tate (King Richard), David Burt (Prince John), Chris Langham (Assassin), Sharon Lee Hill (Fiona), Richard Bryan, Stewart Collins, Nicholas Ibbotson, Michael Steffan (Monks)
Commentaires : Although man critics found the plot muddled and confused, the chorus of monks was a great success and the show did develop a kind of cult following. It was chosen to re-open the Old Vic after the theatre had undergone a major renovation under its new owner, the Canadian “Honest” Ed Mirvisch. It transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in January 1984.

Version 5

Blondel (2006-11-Pleasance Theatre Main Stage-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Pleasance Theatre - Main Stage (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : 23 November 2006
Première: 23 November 2006
Dernière: 31 December 2006
Mise en scène : Patrick Wilde
Chorégraphie : Stewart Nicholls
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Abigail Finley (Fiona), Chris Crierson (Blondel), Matt Harrop (Prince John), Mark Inscoe (King Richard), Napoleon Ryan (Assassin), David Paul West (Leopold Duke of Austria), Charlie Tighe, Nick Trumble, James Durrant, Gavin James, Polli Redston, Zoe Harrison, Rebecca Seale
Commentaires : This was the show’s first revival and although Stephen Oliver had died in 1992, the show had undergone some revision and updating (with references to the Middle East War and so on.) It was now shorter and sharper, although it still received a luke-warm critical reception. The role of Fiona was played by Abi Finley who had been a runner-up in the “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” TV show.

Version 6

Blondel (2017-06-Union Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Union Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 21 June 2017
Première: 21 June 2017
Dernière: 15 July 2017
Mise en scène : Sasha Regan
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Star(s) :

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