Baroque 'n' Roll

A comedy drama with music and big wigs    3m, 1f. Running time 2 hours

A romp through the larger-than-life lives – and glorious music – of three of the most celebrated composers of all time: Handel, Bach and Scarlatti, all born the same year, 1685, and who grew to become undisputed giants of baroque music.

Characters:

Georg Friedrich Händel: (playing 30s to 70s). Rather portly, perhaps getting more portly as the play progresses. Handel never married and, while there is no evidence that Handel was gay, he could be played ever so slightly camp. He is certainly full of himself, hardly a shrinking violet. Full costume or can simply wear black shirt and trousers with a large white Handel wig.

Johann Sebastian Bach: (playing 30s to 60s). Serious compared to Handel in temperament. Black shirt and trousers with a large white wig or full costume if wanted.

Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti: (playing 30s to 70s) Black shirt and trousers with a large white wig or full costume if wanted.

Everybody else: The following parts are all played by the same woman actor: Nurse, Italian waitress, Music critic, Housekeeper, Fortune teller, Woman, Cockney waitress, Spanish woman, Stage manager, Art critic, Mrs Delaney, Irish waitress, Historian, German waitress, Nun, Scientist


Synopsis

The play opens with Handel's funeral. We are listening to a Bach Solo Organ.  The tone is quiet and sombre when suddenly the coffin lid flies off and Handel stands up declaring "Bach, bah!  Bach knew nothing! This is music!" and the music changes to the Hallelujah Chorus played very loud with swirling rock concert lights. That sets the tone for the play: irreverent, fun, with glorious music throughout.  All the music is available as mp3 or WAV files, already edited and covered by PRS/PPL * See note below

Act 1: Scene 1 - The Beginning: Handel’s Funeral

Act 1: Scene 2 - Setting the Scene: The Players

Act 1: Scene 3 - Moving On: London and Elsewhere

Act 1: Scene 4 - A Triumphant Decade

Act 2: Scene 1 - Onwards and Upwards

Act 2: Scene 2 - On a Roll: Fireworks and Hallelujah

Act 2: Scene 3 - Towards the End and Back to the Beginning

Throughout the play we trace the lives and development of the three composers, played by the three leads – with all other parts, by and large comedy turns, played by a versatile mature women actor who is everything from an Irish waitress to a fortune teller, a scientist to a nurse, music critic to stage manager!

 

* Much of the music on the audio CD and WAVs supplied is in the public domain and not subject to usage fees. The remainder (12.75 minutes) would be covered by a PPL licence for recorded music for professional use following. Since Handel, Bach and Scarlatti are all out of copyright as composers, there is no PRS requirement. The one exception is Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix which is in copyright and interpolated, and should therefore have PRS clearance usage of the recorded music. It would however be possible to rewrite that part of the script to avoid usage of the music itself.  For amateur productions, there is a flat fee of 67.93 per annum – PPL form PPLPP030

 

For more details about this and other Derek Webb plays, email: info@derekwebb.co.uk 

This article was updated on 3 July 2020