VICTOR, The Musical
Trapped in the arctic ice, the sailors work to free their ship, angrily asserting that Captain Walton has gone mad in his quest to find the North Pole. As the men contemplate mutiny (Mutiny), Walton attempts to inspire passion for his goal. Anger escalates, but the conflict comes to a halt when Walton and the sailors see two figures on the horizon of the frozen
landscape. Victor Frankenstein approaches the ship and warns of impending danger, advising the Captain to abandon his ambition and return home before it is too late (Listen Well). In an attempt to convince Walton of the unknown danger he faces, Victor begins his tale:
In the childhood home of Victor Frankenstein, friends celebrate the good deeds of Victor's father, Alphonse (Toast), who modestly credits family and friends for his good fortune (Alphonse). As the crowd enjoys a spirit of generosity and joyful celebration (To Love!), Victor reminisces about his great love for Elizabeth, to whom he was betrothed as a child (Elizabeth). Victor's best friend, Henry Clerval, jokes with Elizabeth and Justine about Victor's success with the women (Victor-ee). The party ends when Victor's mother, Caroline, falls to the floor while dancing with Alphonse. Her tragic and unexpected death so soon after the birth of Victor's brother, William, devastates the family. Alphonse searches for comfort in prayer, while Victor addresses God in angry determination (God, Are You There?). Victor travels to Ingolstadt to attend the University where he is profoundly affected by two professors, each with different answers to the fundamental questions about existence. One believes in the sacred integrity of nature's law, the other teaches the promise of science and man's limitless potential (University). Through hard work and study, Victor unveils the mystery to immortality (Awakening). He creates a laboratory where his fervent work and obsession with reclaiming life, cause the villagers to grow suspicious (What Is He Doing?). Oblivious to the prying eyes of the villagers, Victor gathers body parts from a nearby cemetery (Deep Of The Night). In Geneva, Victor's young brother, William, is saddened by the loss of his mother and Victor's absence from the family. Alphonse tries to cheer William, helping him to see how fortunate he is (Lucky). Later, William's nanny, Justine, tucks him into bed and tells him about his mother, Caroline (Your Mother's Eyes). On a stormy night, far away, Victor finally succeeds in bringing his Creation to life (Creation), but is horrified at the final result (What Have I Done?). He quickly sedates the Creature and, exhausted by his efforts, falls into a troubled, fevered coma. His friend, Henry, finds Victor near death and rushes him home to his family who care for him (What If He Dies?). In Victor's lab, the Creature breaks free and is violently chased from the town by the villagers (Something is in There). Alone and afraid, the Creature hides near a remote cottage in the woods. He observes the gentle family living there, imitating young Agatha in her daily reading lessons (Letters). Time passes, and the Creature learns to speak, read, and to feel love for the family (Seasons). As he reads from Victor's journal, the Creature discovers that his Creator, Victor Frankenstein, despises and plans to destroy him. Remaining hidden, the Creature endears himself to the family, supplying food and firewood through the winter, plowing the field and sowing seeds in the Spring. One day, desperate for love and acceptance, the Creature cautiously approaches the family (Will They Love Me?). The Old Blind Man welcomes him, but soon the rest of the family returns. Terrified, they chase him away. In a fit of rage, the Creature returns and burns their cabin to the ground. Meanwhile, Victor and his family are enjoying a sunny day in the meadow with the other villagers (Picnic Days). While Elizabeth and Victor share a romantic moment, William and Justine play games (Hide 'n Seek). The lovely pastoral scene turns dark when Justine finds that William is lost, and the frantic search begins...
Wandering in the forest, William meets the Creature (Encounter). In their conversation, the Creature learns that Victor Frankenstein is William's older brother. Enraged, he strangles William with the child's necklace. The Creature finds Justine asleep in a nearby barn (Your Sleeping Face), and slips William's necklace into her pocket. Justine is accused of William's murder (Heart, I Beg You). An angry mob creates chaos in the courtroom, Justine is found guilty, and hanged (The Trial). Overcome by grief and loss, Victor and Elizabeth are unable to console each other (Innocent Names). Victor hunts and tries to kill the Creature who resists, effortlessly, begging Victor to create a female creature for him (Encounter, reprise). Victor contemplates the dangers of this venture (Unpredictability Of Love). When the Creature finds Victor destroying the laboratory, the Creature's only hope for love and happiness, he vows to take revenge. Henry, who's been searching for Victor at Elizabeth's request, proposes a contest to patrons of a local pub (Pay, Pay). The next morning, Henry's dead body is found near the lake (Drowning). Alphonse, Victor, and Elizabeth mourn for their lost friends and family (I Remember). With Alphonse.'s encouragement (Hope), Victor and Elizabeth decide to marry (Until Forever). After the wedding, Elizabeth prepares the bridal suite while Victor waits outside (A Moment). The Creature breaks in, killing Elizabeth. Victor, too late to save her, rocks her in his arms while grief and rage consume him (Lament). Suddenly he realizes he is kneeling on the arctic ice in the midst of the curious sailors, who are certain he is a madman.
In his final words, Victor empathizes with the Creature, now empty, alone, with nothing left to live for. The sailors stare in disbelief as the Creature, grieving for his Creator, carries Victor's body across the ice out into the arctic wilderness (Done With Man). The sailors are stunned by what they have seen and heard. Quietly, Captain Walton begins his confession, which slowly spreads throughout the weary crew (There Is A Child). Walton decides to abandon his ambition, thinking only now of the lives and future happiness of his men (All That We Do). Homeward bound, they rejoice with an affirmation of life and love (To Love! reprise).
This musical is the brain-child of lyricist Kimberly Hinton who has long been dissatisfied with the cultural treatment of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Consequently, "VICTOR,The Musical" tells this familiar tale with a focus on human relationships and the issues of choices and their consequences rather than with the traditional approach; a monster story of science gone awry.
The result is a roller-coaster ride of rapidly changing song and dance that the creative team (Hinton/Caron)characterize with the description, "Puccini meets MTV."
This two-CD set contains the entire musical (2 hours, 12 minutes) performed by 70 singers. The actual onstage cast requires 16 Actor/Singers.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Spokane, Washington resident Don Caron has been active in the Northwest music scene for over 25 years as a composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, keyboardist, and most recently, writing filmscores, screenplays, & musicals ("THE BASKET Motion Picture Soundtrack"-1999 MGM release, & "VICTOR, The Musical"--2004).
During the 1970's, Don Caron founded and directed Composers' Conspiracy, a concert organization devoted to the presentation of original music by Northwest Composers.
He co-founded and co-directed Art Growers Association, a Washington Non-Profit Corporation devoted to promoting original applications of music and dance in concert and educational settings.
Art Growers Association distributed jazz and ballet instructional videos with music by Caron, and choreography by Jeff Amsden and Elizabeth Carlssohn.
In the 1980's Caron's focus was on music for dance. He collaborated with Elizabeth Carlssohn on the composition and choreography of two full-length ballets for The Spokane Ballet Company ("Centerpiece" & "Five Gifts for Third Child") which premiered in the Spokane Opera House (1987).
He also co-composed the lengthy electronic score for Lady Macbeth, a Christopher Aponte ballet, and has composed several ballets for Theatre Ballet of Spokane and four albums of Music for Ballet Class (Random Touch Records).
Caron's commissions include music for: The Spokane Symphony, The Whitworth Community Orchestra, Zephyr, Washington State Artist's Trust, Washington State Cultural Enrichment Program, Spokane Ballet, Theatre Ballet, and the Spokane Symphony Wind Ensemble. In 1995, he was commissioned by the Spokane Symphony to write a work commemorating their 50th Anniversary ("Paradigm Shifts").
In June of 1995, Caron began employment at North by Northwest Productions as resident Composer and Sound Designer, scoring commercial videos for Hewlett Packard, Novell Corporation, Albertson's Corporation, Washington Water Power, Physio Control Corporation, and others.
He designed and installed two audio recording suites for North by Northwest Entertainment and returned to freelance work, devoting his time to scriptwriting and composing.
In 2002, Don Caron was awarded "Composer of the Year" by the distinguished Washington State Music Teachers Association, and was commissioned to write his, "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra".
Since then, his collaboration with lyricist Kimberly Hinton has resulted in the recent release (March 2004) of a new CD, "VICTOR, The Musical..."