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.

Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

Résumé

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.

Synopsis complet

 

Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

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.

 

Détails

Liste des chansons

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

Liste des rôles

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.

Textes disponibles on-line

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Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Blondel

Version 1

Blondel (1983-09-Theatre Royal-Bath) (Pre-London Try Out)
Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : jeudi 08 septembre 1983
Première : jeudi 08 septembre 1983
Dernière : samedi 24 septembre 1983
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Avec : Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Sharon Lee-Hill (Fiona), Stephen Tate (Richard), David Burt (John), Chris Langham (Assassin)
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 2

Blondel (1983-10-Palace Theatre-Manchester) (Pre-London Try Out)
Durée : 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 28 septembre 1983
Première : mercredi 28 septembre 1983
Dernière : samedi 08 octobre 1983
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
Avec : Paul Nicholas (Blondel), Sharon Lee-Hill (Fiona), Stephen Tate (Richard), David Burt (John), Chris Langham (Assassin)
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 3

Blondel (1983-11-Old Vic-London) (Original)
Durée : 2 mois
Nombre : 87 représentations
Première Preview : mercredi 02 novembre 1983
Première : mercredi 09 novembre 1983
Dernière : samedi 14 janvier 1984
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
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.
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 4

Blondel (1984-01-Aldwych Theatre-London) (Original)
Durée : 8 mois
Nombre : 278 représentations
Première Preview : samedi 21 janvier 1984
Première : samedi 21 janvier 1984
Dernière : samedi 22 septembre 1984
Mise en scène : Peter James
Chorégraphie : Anthony Van Laast
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.
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 5

Blondel (2006-11-Pleasance Theatre Main Stage-London) (Revival)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : jeudi 23 novembre 2006
Première : jeudi 23 novembre 2006
Dernière : dimanche 31 décembre 2006
Mise en scène : Patrick Wilde
Chorégraphie : Stewart Nicholls
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.
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 6

Blondel (2017-06-Union Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 21 juin 2017
Première : mercredi 21 juin 2017
Dernière : samedi 15 juillet 2017
Mise en scène : Sasha Regan
Chorégraphie :
Avec :
En savoir plus sur cette version

Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Blondel

 

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