Teen turns dream into a reality
Musical written by Florence teen to be performed on FLT stage
BOB SLOAN Editor
Fifteen-year-old Abigail “Abby” Greenwood was on a return flight from New York City when her dream of writing her own musical began its transformation into reality.
Eight months later, Greenwood’s production of “Antonia: The Musical,” will be performed Saturday at the Florence Little Theater. Greenwood penned the entire script, including the score, music and lyrics. She also performs one of the minor roles in the play.
The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/antonia-the-musical-tickets-65894796109.
The Florence teen says that since she was a small child she has dreamed of writing her own musical and having it performed. Her goal was to have it happen before she turned 16.
“This has all come together really quick,” Greenwood admits. “It s been a lot of work, but this is what I love. It’s my dream.”
The musical tells the story of French queen Marie Antoinette, from her marriage at the age fourteen to her early death, all from the her perspective. It is based in part on her diary. “Antonia,” is Antoinette’s birth name. She was forced to change it by her family when they moved from Austria to France.
The show also details the plight of peasants Joan and Gilbert, a brother and sister who live alone in Paris, barely able to get by.
Greenwood, who has been attending Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School but will attend the Charleston County School of the Arts this fall, said she has always had a passion for musical theater and a love of history. Her fascination with Antoinette began several years ago.
“I think she a very misunderstood person,” said Greenwood. “History is not always black and white. There is a lot of grey. She was not nearly as bad as history makes her out to be. My hope is that the musical will help people see another side of her.”
Antoinette was the Austrian queen consort of King Louis XVI of France from 1774–93. Her name is associated with the decline in the moral authority of the French monarchy, though her courtly extravagance was only a minor cause of the nation’s financial disorders. Her rejection of reform provoked unrest, and her policy of court resistance to the progress of the French Revolution finally led to the overthrow of the monarchy in August 1792.
She met her death on the guillotine at the age of 38 after the Revolutionary Tribunal found her guilty of crimes against the state.
Greenwood says part of the inspiration for the musical is to give Antoinette “a voice she never had.”
It was after seeing a Broadway production of “Anastasia” in New York that Greenwood decided it was time. On the flight home she began composing on the “Garage Band” app on her phone. It took three month’s before she completed writing the entire musical.
The musical includes the songs “Sister’s Lament,” “If I Were Pardoned to Dream,” and “Dance with Me,” all of which can be found on Youtube.com.
She then set out on the production aspect, calling on friends from school and from her Florence Little Theatre family to assist, from taking on roles, creating sets and getting sponsorships to paying for the finances. A Go Fund Me page, private donations, and a yard sale all helped offset the cost of the production, including renting the theater for a one-night showing.
“The entire community has been so supportive,” said Greenwood.
The cast includes Mary Miles Lee (Antonia), Caroline Lee (Little Antonia), Ariana Hodge (Mama), Ben Daniel (Francis), Jaden Davis (Louis), Jada Valencia (Joan) and Tripp Taylor (Gilbert).
Greenwood will play the part of Antoinette’s long-time friend and confidant, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Ashley Young serves as production manager.