The Count of Monte Cristo (musical)
|The Count of Monte Cristo|
Concept Album Artwork
|Basis||Novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas|
|Productions||2009 St. Gallen
2014 Kaunas, Lithuania
The Count of Monte Cristo is a musical based on the famed novel of the same name. The music is by Frank Wildhorn and the lyrics and book are by Jack Murphy. The world premiere (in German as Der Graf von Monte Christo) was on March 14, 2009, in the Theater St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland. Andreas Gergen was the director, with Thomas Borchert starring as The Count. The role of Mercédès was played by Sophie Berner.
A concept recording was released on December 12, 2008, starring several European theatrical superstars and Brandi Burkhardt, amongst others. The recording went platinum.
The musical had a New York City workshop in November 2008, starring Brandi Burkhardt, James Barbour, Natalie Toro, Gregg Edelmann and several others from the Broadway production of A Tale of Two Cities, and many known Wildhorn-favourites.
On April 21, 2010, the show premiered in Seoul, Korea.
An English-language premiere has been announced to take place at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, United States. The show will run from January 22-31, 2015.
- Edmond Dantès, a young, naïve second mate of a French trading ship, for the Morrell Shipping Company, lands the ship on the island of Elba to seek medical attention for their dying captain. While on the island, the exiled French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte gives Dantès a letter to deliver to a friend in Dantès' home of Marseille ("Prologue - Let Justice Be Done").
Dantès returns home and is greeted by his fiancée Mercédès and best friend Fernand Mondego. When Morrell asks what has become of the captain, Danglars, the first mate of the ship, reveals that the captain is dead and Dantès disobeyed orders by bringing him to Elba. Instead of becoming upset, Morrell commends Dantès and promotes him to captain. Danglars becomes furious and begins to plot revenge on Dantès. Now that Dantès has been made captain he does not have to wait to marry Mercédès and the two revel in the news ("When Love is True").
Mondego is also in love with Mercédès and secretly hates Dantès for his engagement to her. Having knowledge of the letter given to Dantès by Nepoleon, something considered an act of treason, Danglars recruits Mondego in his plot to ruin Dantès.
At his home, Dantès celebrates his promotion and engagement with Mercédès, his family, and friends ("Raise A Glass"). Suddenly, the party is interrupted by Gendarmeries who arrest Dantès for being a Bonapartist. Dantès' friends refuse to give him up, but Dantès agrees to go willingly, believing it is simply a mistake and he will be returned home. Before Dantès leaves, he asks Mondego to take care of Mercédès until he returns.
Dantès is taken to the chief magistrate, Villefort. After much interrogation Villefort is convinced that Dantès is innocent and prepares to set him free. However, before letting Dantès go, Villefort asks him who Napoleon's letter was to be delivered to. Villefort is horrified to discover that the letter was to be sent to his own father, a Bonapartist. Fearing the destruction of his own reputation, Villefort retracts his decision to set Dantès free and sentences him to life imprisonment in the island prison, Château d'If.
It was Danglars and Mondego who sent the letter to Villefort and had Dantès arrested. The three men meet and explain how their actions are justified by the rules of human nature stating that only the strong survive, and it was the only way to get what they wanted: Danglars, his captain-ship; Mondego, the chance to court Mercédès; and Villefort, his reputation ("A Story Told").
Dantès is branded and thrown into his prison cell. Meanwhile, Mercédès prays for his return. Both vow to always be there for each other, no matter how far the distance between them ("I Will Be There").
Years pass and Dantès remains locked away, slowly losing all hope of returning home. Back in Marseille, Mondego has been trying to win over Mercédès to no avail. Realizing she would never betray Dantès knowing he is alive, he tells her that Dantès has been executed ("Every Day a Little Death").
One day, Dantès is awoken by strange noises. An old man suddenly breaks through the stone and raises through the floor of Dantès' cell. The old man introduces himself as Abbé Faria and explains that he had been tunneling his way to freedom, but accidentally chose the wrong direction and ended up in Dantès' cell. Faria requests Dantès' help in digging the tunnel and in return offers Dantès, who is illiterate, a proper education. Dantès agrees and they begin digging, in the right direction, while Faria teaches Dantès mathematics, philosophy, military strategy, literature, economics, and hand to hand combat. The two men quickly form a friendship and share the stories of their imprisonment. Faria reveals he was a soldier in Napoleon's army who deserted the military to become a priest. He came to know the immensely wealthy Count Spada, and was granted knowledge of where the Count had hidden away his fortune, on the remote island of Monte Cristo. When Napoleon learned of Faria's knowledge of the treasure, he sent Faria to prison in hopes that it would break him into telling where it was hidden. ("Lessons Learned").
The tunnel suddenly collapses, mortally wounding Faria. As he lays dying in Dantès' arms he grants Dantès the entire fortune on Monte Cristo. They share a dream they know will never come to pass: both of them free and surrounded by riches. Faria asks that Dantès forgive and forget, but Dantès can't bring himself to do so; he wants revenge. ("When We Are Kings").
When the prison guards discover Faria has died they put him in a body bag. When they leave to get a chart to wheel the body out, Dantès switches places with the corpse. The guards return and, not noticing the difference, throw Dantès into the sea.
Dantès is picked up by a pirate ship, captained by the smuggler Luisa Vampa. Vampa forces Dantès to knife fight with Jacopo, a member of the crew. Due to his training with Faria, Dantès easily defeats his opponent, but refuses to kill him. Vampa allows both men to live, and Jacopo vows to serve Dantès forever. Dantès asks the pirates to drop him and Jacopo off on the island of Monte Cristo ("Pirates - Truth Or Dare").
Once on the island, Dantès finds Spada's treasure and reinvents himself as the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo ("The Treasure / When We Are Kings - Reprise")
Mercédès has been in a loveless marriage with Mondego for many years, and the two of them have a son named Albert, who has just turned eighteen. Albert begs his mother for permission to attend Carnival in Rome, but she refuses believing he is too young and would be without a chaperone. Mondego cares very little for his son, and quickly agrees when Albert asks him for permission. Once left alone, Mercédès muses on her unhappy marriage ("When the World was Mine").
Dantès, as the Count of Monte Cristo, arrives in Marseille and buys an extravagant mansion. He surrounds himself with beautiful women who dance for him, but finds little enjoyment in it ("Dance The Tarantella"). Jacopo returns from a mission given to him by Dantès, to discover what has become of the men who betrayed him. Jacopo tells that Danglars has become a Baron and wealthy shipping merchant who bought out Morrell's company and Villefort has become chief prosecutor in Paris, but is reluctant to speak of Mondego and Mercédès. When Dantès demands to know of Mercédès, Jacopo tells him of her marriage to Mondego and their son, Albert. Dantès, overcome with rage, vows a terrible revenge on all who betrayed him, including Mercédès ("Hell to Your Doorstep").
Albert is celebrating Carnival with his friends in Rome ("Carnival In Rome / Tarantella - Reprise"). He is lured away from the festivities by a beautiful young woman, and captured by bandits. Dantès is there as well, pretending to have been captured also. When Albert tells him he was captured due to a woman, the two men talk of the power women hold over men ("Ah, Women"). Albert reveals he is in love with Villefort's daughter, Valentine. When the bandits return, Dantès breaks free of his bonds and fights them while Albert hides. The bandits are revealed to be Luisa Vampa and her band of pirates, now working for Dantès. This was all Dantès' plan to become acquainted with Albert in order to gain access to Mondego. Dantès pays the pirates for their service and they disperse. Albert thanks his "savior" and asks who he is. Dantès introduces himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, and invites Albert, and his parents, to a ball he will be holding at his mansion.
All the upper class of France attend Dantès' ball and gossip about their mysterious host ("That's What They Say"). Dantès arrives and dazzles all present with his charm and seemingly endless wealth. Jacopo presents Danglars and Villefort, while Albert presents his father, Mondego. None of the men recognize the Count of Monte Cristo as Dantès. Mondego introduces Mercédès, who instantly recognizes her former love. She is sent into a state of shock and tries to speak, but Dantès has nothing to say to her (I Know Those Eyes / This Man Is Dead").
Dantès sets a trap for his enemies, sending each of them a chest, bearing the name "LLERROM," filled with money. Danglar, Villefort, and Mondego each have their own reasons for accepting the money: Danglars is in debt, Villefort accepts bribes, and Mondego wasted his fortune on gambling and womanizing. The men revel in their gifts, until the money suddenly bursts into flames. Jacopo is sent to Danglars to reveal the Count's true identity, upon which Danglars commits suicide; while Villefort is arrested and sent to prison for accepting the money. Mondego, the last of the traitors, jumps onto the lid of his chest, now red-hot due to the flaming money, and is branded with the name "LLERROM" on his chest. Reading it backwards, he sees it is actually a palindrome for "MORRELL." Remembering how Dantès worked for the Morrell Shipping Company, Mondego deduces the Count of Monte Cristo's true identity ("The Trap / Too Much Is Never Enough").
When the news breaks of what the Count has done, Albert considers his family disgraced and arranges a duel with him. Mercédès tries to talk her son out of it, but Albert refuses to relent. Valentine privately muses on her father, whom she thought was a good man, only to see him revealed as a scoundrel ("Pretty Lies").
Mercédès goes to the Count and begs him to spare Albert's life, revealing her knowledge of his true identity. However, Dantès still has not forgiven Mercédès for marrying Mondego and refuses, stating, "Pity is for the weak." Mercédès is left to reflect on her wasted life ("All This Time").
The duel between Dantès and Albert commences and the two draw pistols. Albert misses his shot, leaving Dantès the victor. As Dantès prepares to kill Albert, Valentine jumps between them and implores that Albert be spared, declaring her love for him. Valentine is pulled away, leaving Albert open once again. However, Dantès simply shoots into the air, sparing his opponent's life. The duel ends and the young lovers run off.
Touched by the love Valentine showed for Albert, Dantès begins an internal search for his former self and sheds away all of the pain he suffered over the years, believing he has, at last, found peace ("The Man I Used To Be").
Dantès reunites with Mercédès at his mansion and forgives her. Mondego suddenly appears and engages Dantès in a vicious sword fight. Dantès emerges victorious, but can not bring himself to kill his rival. Dantès allows Mondego to live and sets him free, but Mondego believes he has lost everything and again rushes at Dantès, intending to stab him from behind. Dantès is forced to kill Mondego in retaliation. ("Hell To Your Doorstep - Reprise").
Dantès and Mercédès embrace and renew their vow never to leave each other ("Finale: I Will Be There - Reprise").
- 2008 Original Concept Cast Recording (Highlights)
- 2009 Original St. Gallen Cast Recording (Highlights)
- 2010 Original Korean Cast Recording (Highlights with Alternate Cast versions on "I Will Be There" and "Hell To Your Doorstep")
- Gans, Andrew.Borchert to Star in World Premiere of Wildhorn's Count of Monte Cristo", playbill.com, February 18, 2009
- Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth."Tale of Two Cities' Barbour and Burkhardt Cast in Monte Cristo Workshop", playbill.com, November 6, 2008