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My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto's Musical Tale

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My Son Pinocchio
Disney's My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto's Musical Tale is a musical based on Disney's 2000 made-for-television movie Geppetto, which was in turn based on a book by David Stern, and features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Much like the movie, My Son Pinocchio is a re-telling of the children's book The Adventures of Pinocchio, but the story is told from Geppetto's perspective. As in the TV film, when Pinocchio runs away to become a star in a traveling show, Geppetto must negotiate through a maze of adventures and comic encounters to find him.

The musical premiered under its former name, Disney's Geppetto & Son, at The Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri in 2006.

Background

David Stern and Stephen Schwartz completed the made-for-TV film Disney's Geppetto in 2000. Several years later, the idea for a child-appropriate stage musical adaptation came up. Schwartz said in production notes for Disney's Geppetto & Son that he believes that the show "is entertaining while at the same time dealing with such important themes as individuality, self-esteem and the relation of parents and children. I am pleased that the Coterie Theatre feels this is an important work. I have written several other shows and films that I believe have had a positive impact on young audiences, such as Disney's Pocahontas, Godspell, Children of Eden, and the current Broadway show Wicked. I believe Disney's Geppetto & Son is a strong addition to this group." MTI currently licenses the show to groups.

Synopsis

Act 1

The syrupy-sweet and very self-satisfied Blue Fairy greets the audience ("When You Wish Upon a Star"), and explains that tonight we'll celebrate the story of a "perfectly granted wish"—the transformation of the puppet Pinocchio into a real boy at the request of his creator, Geppetto. Geppetto arrives and asks the Fairy to take Pinocchio back, explaining that he's defective. The Blue Fairy is outraged at this request and arranges to take a trip back in time to learn the truth.

The Blue Fairy transports herself back in time, arriving in Geppetto's toyshop the morning before the wish was made. Geppetto encounters a stream of children eager for his toys ("Toys"). He envies the parents who have children, and is saddened at the fact that he is not a father. Once the children have gone, he puts the finishing touches on his puppet, Pinocchio, but before going to bed, Geppetto wishes for his empty heart to be filled ("Empty Heart"). The Blue Fairy appears and brings Pinocchio to life.

Geppetto insists that Pinocchio was not a success at all, and the Blue Fairy jumps ahead in time to learn more of the story ("Rise and Shine"). Geppetto teaches Pinocchio a song ("Geppetto and Son") but a meeting with the Town Fathers does not go smoothly. The two again travel forward in time ("Rise and Shine #2") to when Geppetto tried to teach Pinocchio about toy making ("Geppetto and Son - Part 2"). Pinocchio states that he doesn't want to be a toy maker, but Geppetto dismisses this idea. Pinocchio then has an accident but lies about it, causing his nose to grow. Geppetto and the Fairy again travel forward in time ("Rise and Shine #3") to Pinocchio's first day of school, where Geppetto gives him careful instructions on his behavior ("Geppetto and Son - Part 3"), but a misunderstanding causes Pinocchio to get into a fight. Geppetto takes Pinocchio home from school and meets an out-of-work puppeteer named Stromboli. Stromboli is immediately interested in Pinocchio, but Geppetto sends Pinocchio home and the Blue Fairy frightens Stromboli away with her wand. Pinocchio becomes distraught when he overhears Geppetto telling the Fairy that he doesn't want Pinocchio. The Fairy informs Geppetto that the "problem" isn't Pinocchio; it's Geppetto himself. He angrily dismisses her, but she assures us that these things have a way of working themselves out ("When You Wish Upon a Star - Reprise").

Pinocchio runs away from home but leaves a note stating he is going to sing and dance in Stromboli's show. Geppetto convinces himself that Pinocchio will be happier with Stromboli, but decides that he will visit Pinocchio just once more to make sure Pinocchio is indeed happy with Stromboli. Pinocchio performs with Stromboli's marionettes ("I've Got No Strings"). The performance is a success, but Stromboli is abusive toward Pinocchio. Geppetto arrives, looking for Pinocchio, but Stromboli denies that the boy is with him. Soon afterward, Pinocchio escapes. When Stromboli discovers this, he rages among his marionettes and vows to recover Pinocchio ("Bravo Stromboli"). Meanwhile, as Geppetto searches for Pinocchio, he meets up again with the Blue Fairy, who observes that Geppetto does seem to care for Pinocchio after all. Geppetto denies this, and the Fairy finally agrees to take Pinocchio back if Geppetto can find him. Geppetto demands that the Fairy use her magic to find Pinocchio, but she demurs, explaining that magic is not the answer to everything ("Just Because It's Magic").

Act 2

After intermission, the Blue Fairy expresses aloud her regret at having granted a wish to "a moron." Geppetto overhears this and the two argue until they are interrupted by a pair of well-behaved children, with whom Geppetto is immediately impressed. The children introduce Geppetto and the Fairy to Maria and Bernardo, a couple who are waiting to see Professor Buonragazzo, a man who custom-builds "perfect children". The Professor's machine creates "Talia", a custom-designed child for Maria and Bernardo ("Satisfaction Guaranteed"). The Professor then creates a series of possible Pinocchio replacements, but Geppetto is horrified, rejecting them and running away.

Geppetto and the Blue Fairy next encounter a series of talking animals, all of whom believe themselves to be something they are not, due to the misguided expectations of their parents. Geppetto reflects that parents should allow their children to grow up to be themselves. The Blue Fairy interjects to secretly inform us that she is responsible for the talking animals. A horse directs Geppetto to follow Pinocchio to Pleasure Island. After Geppetto leaves, Stromboli arrives and encounters the Blue Fairy, wishing he had Pinocchio back. The Blue Fairy notes that at least Stromboli wants Pinocchio, unlike Geppetto. She tells Stromboli to go home, and that she will bring Pinocchio to him. Stromboli is surprised and elated ("Bravo Stromboli - Reprise").

A Ringleader and his Roustabouts introduce us to Pleasure Island ("Pleasure Island"), a place where delinquents run wild. Geppetto arrives, and Pinocchio emerges from the crowd and accuses Geppetto of not wanting him. He states that Pleasure Island is his new home. At that moment, Pinocchio and the other delinquents turn into donkeys. The Ringleader orders them hauled away. Geppetto, in a rowboat, pursues a ship containing the transformed Pinocchio and the other donkeys leaving Pleasure Island. A whale swallows Geppetto and his rowboat whole.

Pinocchio is restored to his normal self, and he and Geppetto find each other inside the whale. Geppetto promises Pinocchio that their relationship will be different from now on ("Geppetto and Son - Whale Reprise"). They escape and return to the toyshop, only to find Stromboli and the Blue Fairy waiting for them. Geppetto offers Stromboli anything in exchange for letting him keep Pinocchio ("Since I Gave My Heart Away"). Stromboli refuses to cooperate, but the Fairy intercedes, transforming Pinocchio into a real boy, and therefore rendering him worthless to Stromboli.

The Blue Fairy, satisfied that Geppetto and Pinocchio are now a real father and a real son, notes that her perfect wish record is still intact.

Musical Numbers

The majority of the songs in this musical are from the movie soundtrack, but the musical does add a few new songs.

Act 1

  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from the motion picture Disney's Pinocchio, with rights arranged for My Son Pinocchio) - Blue Fairy
  • "Toys" - Townspeople, Geppetto
  • "Empty Heart" - Geppetto
  • "Rise and Shine" - Automatons
  • "Geppetto and Son" - Geppetto, Pinocchio
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star - Reprise" - Blue Fairy
  • "I've Got No Strings" - Pinocchio, Stromboli (also based on the motion picture Pinocchio)
  • "Bravo Stromboli" - Stromboli
  • "Just Because It's Magic" - Blue Fairy, Geppetto

Act 2

  • "Satisfaction Guaranteed" - Professor Buonragazzo, Children of Idylia
  • "Bravo Stromboli - Reprise" - Stromboli
  • "Pleasure Island" - Ringleader, Roustabouts, Delinquents
  • "Geppetto and Son - Whale Reprise" - Pinocchio, Geppetto
  • "Since I Gave My Heart Away" - Geppetto
  • "Since I Gave My Heart Away - Finale" - Company

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