A Musical Farce - Book, Music and Lyrics by Richard Chiarappa; based on a story by Mark Twain

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Synopsis - Click on the hyperlinked song titles for samples.

Act I

In short, Brandenburgh is a simple love story – well, perhaps not that simple.

Surrounded by Bishop Kingswood and two clergymen, the dying monarch in his final decree (“Which One Will It Be?”) states that neither of his warring sons, the Duke of Klugenstein nor the Duke of Brandenburgh, will become the next ruler. He also reveals that neither son is directly related to him by blood. Instead, the future ruler will be the "first born grandson" who must meet two specific requirements: first, being sixteen years of age, and second, being of "untarnished reputation." Of course, if there is no grand “son,” then the first sixteen-year-old grand “daughter” will do. Also, the monarch cautions them of the ancient law of the land: “if any woman sits on the throne before she is lawfully crowned, she shall die.” When all is understood, the king conveniently dies and the bishop tells the kingdom ("While We Are Here").

As fate has it, Klugenstein's child is born a mere twenty four hours before Brandenburgh's child. But as luck has it, Klugenstein's child is a girl while Brandenburgh has a son! The only person outside of each immediate family to know these facts - and even he is sworn to secrecy by each duke – is good Bishop Kingswood. Meanwhile, the entire decree situation has not sat well with the late king’s conniving daughters-in-law. Separately, but simultaneously, they each come up with a brilliant idea that they present to their husbands (“I’ve Been Thinking”). The idea is to raise their child both in name and in the garb of the opposite sex. Preposterous? Yes – but foolproof, or so they think. They conclude this would guarantee an “untarnished reputation” for their child, By the song’s end, the parallel plans are hatched. As a result, Klugenstein's daughter is named “Prince Conrad” while Brandenburgh's son is named “Princess Madeline.” This arrangement creates some stressful moments, as you might imagine. ("I'm A She!")

Time passes - sixteen years, to be exact. Each duke – to protect his child’s reputation up to the last minute - engages the help of a "foil" to dress and act in place of their respective children; after all, if Prince Conrad's or Princess Madeline's reputation could be proven tarnished before crowning, the throne would go to the other grandchild. The Duke of Klugenstein has chosen Count Detzin, an honorable knight, to represent Conrad in this special mission (“What’s My Motivation?”). Meanwhile, the Duke of Brandenburgh has enlisted the services of the "bombshell," Lady Eleanor, who figures out exactly what needs to be done ("Brains and Beauty"). At the end of the act, the Klugensteins, Bishop Kingswood, the “real” Conrad (“Connie” in common garb) and the “Conrad” foil (Count Detzin) arrive in the duchy of Brandenburgh as final preparations are being made for the coronation (“Brandenburgh”). As the act closes, the Dukes arrange for Conrad and Madeline – cousins in name but not by blood - to visit after many years of not having seen each other. The meeting place will be at the fountain by the entrance to the forest.

Act II

Act Two opens with all the parties - who are about to meet in one guise or another in the forest - making their separate preparations and wondering what the afternoon will bring (“Time To Go”). “Connie” and the Bishop meet up first and they hide to observe an approaching Matty (Madeline), who is singing about his new found “Freedom.” After they reveal themselves, the Bishop inadvertently hints at his assignment from each duke, and then ponders the question of loyalty and royalty in “Royal Blood.” They begin to go on their separate ways as the foils, Detzin & Eleanor who are dressed as Conrad and Madeline, arrive. As luck would have it, while on their respective missions, the foils get to know each other and a genuine love interest blossoms while each pursues the directed goal ("Mementos of Days Gone By"). In the meantime, Connie and Matty are also struck by Cupid's arrow ("Freedom & One Chance Duet"). At the afternoon’s conclusion, their respective children, the foils and the confused bishop report back to the dukes and duchesses. Now the only thing that remains to be done is for each duke to set his final move in motion. ("Reliable Eyes").

That very night, on the eve of the coronation at the kingdom’s ceremonial masked ball, two rumors start that bring the festivities to a grinding halt. They are opposing in their content. After some confusion it is decided that no one else could possibly solve this problem except, of course, Bishop Kingswood. Not knowing what else to do, he immediately sets up a court of inquiry to determine the truth or falsehood of the rumors and to decide who the next ruler will be. In his finest moment the Bishop presents a stunning performance of “in-sight,” which reveals the truth and allows love to prevail. To the great relief of the perplexed Bishop, a knight and damsel re-discover each other, and a new King and Queen emerge to rule the kingdom and unite a long-time divided royal family. (“Finale – I’m A She/He’s A He”).