MINSTRELS: Narrators of the musical to the audience as well as fully-developed characters in the musical story line. The Minstrels, The Jester and Lady Larken join forces to stop the Queen's plans. The Minstrels are court entertainers and right hand men/women of the King; who can tell a great story and have a great sense of joy in what they do. They are assured in their ability to tell the story with authority. Charismatic, engaging, all-knowing, worldly... but there is also something playful and mischievous about them. They are charming and witty and in some ways, as outsiders of the palace, bring a lot of realism to the over-the-top court life. Extensive singing. Should enunciate and project well.Must be able to smoothly segue back and forth from being the narrator (who speaks and sings directly to the audience) to a character in the story who relates only to the other characters. The Minstrels are passing through on their way to Normandy. They are intelligent, inquisitive and quick thinkers who fit easily into new situations. Doers, not just reporters, our minstrels are gutsy, have a sense of humor and admire Lady Larken.
(Note: In medieval times, a minstrel was an entertainer whoperformed songs that told stories about distant places and realor imaginary historical events. Also known as wandering minstrels, these bards were frequently retained by royalty andhigh society.)
QUEEN AGGRAVAIN: The loud, overprotective, stubborn, sly, dominating woman who really rules the country. An excellent actress with good rhythm who enunciates and projects well; has a stage presence that commands attention; Has to talk very fast (but clearly) during a long "Mamalogue." Queen Aggravain is the wife of King Mutimus and the mother of PrinceDauntless. Conniving, imperious, bossy and over-bearing, the vain Queen will stop at nothing, including hypochondria, to get her way. She is unnaturally fixated on her grown son, Dauntless, and treats him like a child. She is smart, self-centered and shrewish and is trying to keep her son from getting married. She has no intention of ever allowing him to leave her or to have another woman in his life.
PRINCESS WINNIFRED THE WOEBEGONE: A feisty, outspoken,i ndependent, strong and free-thinking princess from the swamplands. Extensive acting and singing required; most of it while on the move. Must project and enunciate well; have excellent comic timing; be good at physical comedy; and exemplify the word "energetic." Princess Winnifred is a friendly, down-to-earth, clumsy and extremely likeable tomboy. She has an upbeat attitude, is outgoing, and gutsy. “Fred” doesn't give a hoot for the ways of royalty and will not stand on ceremony. She is courageous and outrageous, but she and the meek Prince Dauntless fall for each other almost immediately. Having grown up in the swamps, she doesn't conduct herself in the formal way the others in the castle do. It is her natural, ingenuous quality that sets her apart from the other Ladies of the kingdom and makes Dauntless fall in love with her.
PRINCE DAUNTLESS THE DRAB: The son of Queen Aggravain and King Mutimus the Silent; Dauntless is a mama's boy who meekly gives in to his dominating mother's wishes. Although he's likeable, good-natured and bright enough, our poor Prince is socially immature – almost childlike. Dauntless is very funny and very eager to please his powerful mother. He's lonely, falls hard for Princess Winnifred, and matures a bit more in every scene after he meets her. Like Winnifred, he is honest and sincere. She gives him confidence in himself and within the course of the musical, we see him grow in self-assurance until he is finally able to confront his mother. An excellent and energetic actor who enunciates and projects well and has good comic timing. Must excel at physical comedy.
KING MUTIMUS THE SILENT: The King is Mute due to a curse placed upon him by a witch before the birth of Dauntless. Silent until just before the finale, the aptly named King Mutimus communicates his thoughts, feelings and schemes through mime– often resembling a game of charades. An audience favorite, the bawdy King is both lovable and silly. Although hen-pecked by the Queen, he maintains his good spirits and is a caring father and a loyal, protective friend. King Mutimus is an incredibly fun role. Needs pantomime skills, especially over-the-top facial expressions and gestures. Should have good comic timing and enjoy physical comedy and improv. Although the king does not sing, he participates in duets and trios through pantomime, which must be performed precisely on musical cues. He is a kind, expressive, playful, and comedic character who enjoys teasing the Ladies-In-Waiting. He has learned that it is easier just to let the Queen have her own way than to fight her. Because he has not been able to speak for so long, he has learned to communicate through pantomime, or gestures. He loves his son and sympathizes with him but realizes he can do little to help him. Despite his frustrations, he is extremely good natured. Integral character with a lot of stage time.
LADY LARKEN: Young and vulnerable Lady Larken is our damsel-in-distress. She's gentle, trusting, and loyal to the love-of-her-life, Sir Harry. She is madly in love with and “engaged” to Sir Harry. (Unable to marry in their own kingdom, they had a priest in a nearby kingdom give them a secret, illegal elopement) Months later, the newlyweds find that they are expecting a baby. Lovely Larken personifies innocence. She is scared and desperate, but courageous, within limits. Larken is The Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting but is put in charge of Princess Winnifred. She tries to flee the Kingdom after having an argument with Sir Harry, but is convinced by Winnifred to reunite with him. Extensive singing required. A high energy actress who projects and enunciates well, whether speaking or singing.
SIR HARRY: “The most bold, handsome, and influential knight in the kingdom” - and he knows it. He is desperate to find Dauntless a wife so he & Lady Larken can finally be married legally in their kingdom. The macho, romantic knight decides to leave the kingdom to search for a princess for Dauntless to marry, in order for him to take Larken as his bride in his own kingdom. A strong, very "knightly" kind of guy who loves Lady Larken. He is brave and dedicated enough to venture on this "perilous journey" in hopes of finding a genuine princess whom the Queen will find suitable as a bride for Dauntless. He is the Queen’s Champion-in-Arms - the Lancelot of Knights. Sir Harry is a macho, slightly egotistical, brave and romantic knight who finds Princess Winnifred in the swamp. Easily jealous, but loves Lady Larken with all his heart.
JESTER: The court comedian, our jester is bold, intelligent, energetic, a quick-thinker and a cool conniver. He's very loyal to the mute King and has mastered how to communicate with him and interpret the King to others. Knights, Ladies, and even the King and Prince, frequently follow the charming jester's easy-going leadership. A high energy actor with good comic timing who excels at physical comedy and makes the most of his props. Must be able to learn basic dance steps. Ability to tap dance or do soft shoe is a plus, but not a must. Enunciates and projects well.
(Note: Jesters held a special place in medieval history. They were considered "insiders" in the court, chosen for their sense of humor and athletic ability to provide entertainment for their king and other royalty. Because jesters were given leeway to say almost anything in "jest," they sometimes were the only members of the court able to voice an honest opinion about local situations.)
WIZARD aka CARDAMON: The Wizard is the Queen's "advisor" and possibly her consort, although she brow beats him incessantly. Often imperious and somewhat scary, our Wizard is actually a frustrated magician/showman currently doing a "Wizard gig." Non-singing role but needs to enunciate and project well. Must be willing to master a few simple magic sleight-of-hand tricks. Ability to impersonate a modern TV quiz show host (in one scene) is a plus. He/She is an egotistical, ex-performer who directly serves the Queen and longs for the “good old days.” He/She is the Queen’s Henchman and thinks of all the Princess’ tests. The Wizard prides himself/herself in his position and basically obeys all of the Queen’s orders. In addition to being the Queen’s confidante, he/she is her only friend and therefore the only person she can really talk to. However, he/she, like everyone else in the kingdom, is apprehensive of the Queen and would never have to courage to contradict her. Note: In medieval literature, part of the wizard's job was guardian or advisor to royalty.
PRINCESS #12: She is the first Princess that the audience sees who is performing the rounds of tests. Very eager, smart, thinks well on her feet – of course the Prince wants to marry her. Projects and enunciates well. Young and attractive, Princess #12 is innocent, eager and regal. Princess #12 is the latest in a long line of princesses applying to be Prince Dauntless’ bride.
NIGHTINGALE OF SAMARKAND: The royal nightingale who sings a haunting lullaby to put Winnifred to sleep. Ability to whistle a plus-soprano.
THE LADIES-IN-WAITING: (In medieval times, the role of a lady-in-waiting was to assist and attend to women of the noble classes such as a Queen or Princess. The Ladies usually were noblewomen themselves, but of lesser rank).
The Ladies sing and dance and have extensive stage time, they are good actresses who stay in character and in the moment; care about the outcome; enunciate and project well and react with facial expressions and body language as the story unfolds. Must be able to sing while moving and/or dancing; keep time clapping and/or stamping feet to music; and willing to double as needed.
THE LADIES-IN-WAITING AND KNIGHTS AND ARE ALL WAITING FOR THE PRINCE TO GET MARRIED SO THAT THEY CAN GET MARRIED TO EACH OTHER. THESE ARE CHARACTER ROLES AND OPEN TO INTERPRETATION.
The Ladies are named as follows:
LADY ROWENA: Rowena is the head Lady-in-Waiting. She is the epitome of a stately, courtly Lady and does her best to train the others in her image. This includes giving them her special "look" when their behavior is less than perfect. Because she is normally so stoic, it is especially funny when she breaks into nervous laughter in the final scene.
LADY MERRILL: Although stately and courtly most of the time, Lady Merrill can be excitable and has a down-to-earth side that shows up on rare occasions.
LADY LUCILLE: A little younger and less disciplined than Rowena or Merrill, Lady Lucille doesn't have as good a grip on her emotions and sometimes blurts out what she thinks. She is high-spirited and excitable and may have a nervous tick. Advises The Queen on fashion.
LADY BEATRICE – COURT DANCER: Must be high energy. LadyBeatrice and her partner, Sir Harold, dance a lively but veryshort duet and are featured in a production number. Beatrice also doubles as a maid in one scene. She is a stately and courtly Lady-in-Waiting who lights up when performing as Court Dancer. Ability to do acrobatics is a plus, but not a must.
LADY MABELLE: Singer and dancer who doubles as French Lady. Should be a good physical actress – Mabelle changes body language (and costume) from that of a stately Lady-in-Waiting to a flirtatious dance partner for Sir Harry. French accent a plus.
ADDITIONAL LADIES-IN WAITING
THE KNIGHTS: (Medieval Knights guarded the castle, supported their king in warfare and served according to the Code of Chivalry. This Code dictated that Knights be brave in battle and exhibit cultured qualities such as loyalty and courtesy in court).
Knights sing and dance and have extensive stage time. They must be good actors who stay in character and in the moment; care about the outcome; and react with facial expressions and body language as the story unfolds. Knights will be asked to double as needed. All Knights should enunciate and project well and carry themselves with pride.
Our Knights are named, as follows:
SIR STUDLEY: Sir Studley is next in rank under Sir Harry. A favorite of the Queen, he's pompous in court, but fun-loving behind the Queen's back.
SIR LUCE: Singer and dancer. Sir Luce is also stately in court but fun-loving when the Queen isn't looking. He's friends with Sir Studley and Sir Harry.
SIR HAROLD/COURT DANCER/1ST KNIGHT: A courtly Knight when not letting loose on the dance floor, Sir Harold is a singer and a featured dancer (with Lady Beatrice) during “The Spanish Panic." They dance an energetic, but very short, duet.
OTHER KNIGHTS TO BE NAMED