The Store Under the Portico aka Musical 2!

The title is here and the first draft is DONE! Musical 2 is now “finished”.  I’m laughing even as I type that because it’s never finished, but the first draft is!

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We finished the final song (the opening to Act II) on Tuesday, therefore finishing the first draft.  So many emotions were happening, but at the same time I haven’t had time to really bask in it since we’re trying to finish up the demo so we can get some table reads in this month.

The Store Under the Portico aka SUP as I’ve been dubbing it, is inspired by the real life story of our nanny in Italy.  We come up with the idea right before we had our first reading for On the Air.  We were out to dinner with our parents celebrating my brother’s graduation and my birthday.  We were discussing how we wanted to start writing our second show, but we couldn’t figure out what to write about.  We narrowed it down to the 1940’s because we were both fascinated by that era and possibly WWII, but so much had already been done on that subject.

“Why don’t you tell Tata’s story?” my parents suggested.

Tata was essentially our Nanny when we lived in Italy.  She was our neighbor in the apartment complex we lived in and the sweetest woman.  Practically a third grandmother when we were over there.  Her experiences during the war were really remarkable and it was like a light bulb went off:

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We decided to expand her story to include the rest of the town.  The show is really about a slice of life in a town (Mantova) in Italy during WWII and the northern occupation of Italy by the Germans.  Embarrassingly enough, it was a topic I was vastly unknowledgeable in.  The more we researched though, the more I couldn’t help but admire these people and what they went through.  Politically, there was so much happening in Italy during that time.  So many political facets were vying for power and people were literally caught in the crossfire.

Here’s a small blurb about what the show is about:

Inspired by a real life story, The Store Under the Portico is an original musical set in Mantova, Italy during the German occupation of Northern Italy in WWII.  Renata Baraldi, affectionately called “Tata” (a Mantovano term for “nanny”), takes over a fabric store for a Jewish family in hiding at the height of fascism (where women were deemed nothing more than child bearers).  In a country literally torn in two, where Nazis shot Italians at random while the allies bombed them, things in Italy were not as simple as they seemed.  The Store Under the Portico tells the untold story of the enemy/ally of World War II, but at its heart, focuses on the everyday lives of the people of Mantova and what they are willing to do for love – love of country, love of family, love of neighbor – and how these types of love can blend together.

Fun fact, Tata’s real name was Maria Baraldi, but we decided to change it since there are quite a number of Maria’s in musical theatre…Plus the genius I am, originally wanted to keep her name and name her love interest Antonio not realizing that combo had already been taken….

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Don’t worry, we changed it.

Of course over the course of writing this show, I’ve become very nostalgic and want to return to Mantova at some point in the near future, if only to look on its landmarks with a different point of view.  It’s truly a beautiful town that not many know about.  Extremely surprising considering its history in art and culture.

Here are some shots from the last time I went when I was studying in London.  All of these places feature prominently in the show!

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Here are some pictures of the bro and me with the real life Tata in Italy.

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We can’t wait for you guys to see/hear it 🙂

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