Nemo is written as a musical, but not a standard musical. It is meant to fuse the worlds of musical theatre, opera, concert music, and even film music. There is a romantic, melodic thrust to the score which employs the aesthetics of grand film music to create a large, sweeping sound in the orchestration. My concert music background also shows itself through the jagged, asymmetric writing in pieces such as “Sinking The Lincoln”, and the brig sequence. These are difficult pieces, but the payoff is a deeper music tapestry that captures the uncertain nature of the character’s predicament, and the contradicting emotions that they experience. The score is dark, grand, brooding, and full of conflict and contrasts. The full dramatic effect is achieved through the dynamic score, evocative set design, moody and suggestive lighting, and a cast that can capture and communicate the gamut of emotions that the characters experience.
Jules Verne’s classic novel provides the perfect backdrop onto which I have built a dramatic love-triangle between Nemo (one of the great obsessives), Aronnax (a young woman searching for more freedom and self-determination), and Nemo’s obsession with the freedom and life he has found in the dark world of the ocean’s embrace.
I have taken numerous liberties with Verne’s novel, adding the back-story of Nemo losing his wife to an unknown illness (which challenges his strong belief in his own scientific capabilities). I have also changed Verne’s Pierre Aronnax into Emily Aronnax. I felt that this created a unique love-triangle, and (perhaps more importantly) we established a strong female character, who I believe contemporary audiences can identify with. Emily is a role model in many ways: she is an independent female lead, which contrasts to musical theatre of the past where women often took a secondary role. Lastly, although I see this musical as ultimately a human story of pain, loss, love, growth, and determination; there is also an adventurous/science-fiction aspect to the story… something I believe we have rarely seen on the theatre stage. All of this creates a wonderful, rich backdrop for our love-story… and for a story of self-discovery, passion, and obsession, to unfold.