Guest Blogger: Jp Vigliotti’s Curious Mind Leads to a Musical

Concept and Book by Jp Vigliotti, Music  and Lyrics by Cardozie Jones and Sean Willis,
Concept and Book by Jp Vigliotti, Music and Lyrics by Cardozie Jones and Sean Willis

Who doesn’t know about Sally Hemings and Marie Antoinette? At this point, we enjoy the tabloid history of both women because it’s dangerous and sexy at the same time. There’s also a part of me that thinks that the scandals of yestercentury would make a good E! True Hollywood Story or Vh1 Special. When I was approached about doing the PR for Madame Infamy in NYMF, I was intrigued especially when Jp told me why he had to write a musical about these women. And here is why:

Many years ago while I was on tour stage managing a show, I came across a book on Sally Hemings because I had always been fascinated by the myth of her.  I wound up reading the book cover to cover in record time because I became enthralled by the possibility that our third president of the United States could have fathered children with his slave. After I finished the book, I thought this would make an incredible play but always felt that she would need a “sister voice” in solidarity. 

Many years later while I was in living in LA, I treated myself to the movie Marie Antoinette. The only thing I knew about Marie Antoinette was that she was Queen of France, she was beheaded and she said “Let them eat cake”. Though this movie was beautiful visually, it left me with a lot more questions than it did answers. This led me straight to the biography section of Barnes and Noble, where I picked up the copy of Antonia Fraser’s “The Journey.”  Viola!  What I found was not only an incredible detail of a fascinating life but I found my sister voice to my first love, Ms. Hemings.

I learned that these two seemingly different women, one a slave and one a queen could have lived parallel lives and quite possibly even have been in the same room and space at one time. Madame Tussaud was the added jewel that cemented the fate of this musical coming to fruition. I had a woman who was present at the time that both these women lived in France. She observed people and could have possibly known both of them as she has access to each.   It could not be more perfect… thus Madame Infamy was created.

The title refers to all three women because each of them have become historical legends in their own right.  In fact three full musicals could be written about each of them, but I am a visionary and that would be too easy. So one musical that covers the lives of three very different women who are connected through chance was far more my style.

Madame Infamy runs in NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival)

Performance Dates:  Wednesday, July 23rd at 8:00pm; Thursday, July 24th at 9:00pm; Friday, July 25th at 5:00pm;Saturday, July 26th at 9:00pm; and Sunday, July 27th at 1:00pm

Performance Venue: The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center at 480 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

Click HERE for more info.

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