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Theatre / Marie Antoinette (Musical)

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Marie Antoinette is a stage musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, of Elisabeth fame. It's based on the novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō, which marks a difference from the creators' previously Euro-centric focus. It debuted in Tokyo, under the Toho Stage company in 2006, going on to an (unsuccessful) production in Bremen and Tecklenburg in Germany before being revamped for productions in Korea and Hungary before returning back to Toho, where it enjoyed a much warmer reception.

It follows two characters, both with the same initials: The first is Marie-Antoinette, who lives a lavish, but empty life in Versailles while pining for Axel von Fersen. The second is Margrid Arnaud, a woman who lives on the streets who becomes embittered and feeds the rebellion against Marie after a disastrous encounter at a party. Over the years, their lives cross into each other's on multiple occasions, and soon, Margrid will have to decide what the true meaning of "justice" is, as The French Revolution begins to reach a fever pitch...

This work provides examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: Marie and Fersen have several, before finally getting to kiss in their last meeting, when they have to say goodbye to one another.
  • Alpha Bitch: Antoinette in the 2006 Toho and German productions, with a side of Rich Bitch. When Margrid runs into a ball she's attending, she mocks her appearance and then tosses champagne on her when she asks for just a little bit of bread. No wonder Margrid joins the revolution.
  • Angry Mob Song: Naturally, given the setting.
    • Most notable is probably "Ich Weine nicht Mehr," which starts off as a Margrid solo and ends with the entire crowd galvanized into action.
    • "Frauen von Paris" is an odd example, because even though it has all the TRAPPINGS of an Angry Mob Song, the mob itself is only in it for the money.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Orléans in the Hungarian.
  • Balcony Wooing Scene: The 2018 Toho and Korean productions have Fersen and Marie share a moment on the balcony outside a crowded ballroom while all the guests look on.
  • Bastard Angst: One more thing that's made Margrid's life hard as the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor of Austria. She spells it out to Fersen in the 2018 Toho, Korean, and Hungarian productions.
  • Break the Haughty: Marie Antoinette goes through this one big time.
  • Declarationof Protection: Fersen makes one to Marie. it doesn't work out, despite his best efforts.
  • Disappeared Dad: Margrid has one and is VERY bitter over it. "Papa? I have no papa." It turns out that the reason he disappeared is that he was the Emperor of Austria, even though he did pay for Margrid's tuition up until his death.
  • Driven to Suicide: Margrid's mother.
  • Entitled to Have You: Hébert has this for Margrid in the revised version, since he got her the job with Orléans. Margrid doesn't see things the same way.
  • False Friend: Orléans to the Royal Family, until they realize he's making a play for the throne. Historically, they hated one another from the beginning.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a musical about Marie-Antoinette. That says it all.
  • Historical Domain Character: EVERYONE but Margrid.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: As is per the norm with adaptations of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette comes off quite well (though she does ask the other crowned heads of Europe to invade France, in keeping with history) and Fersen's endorsement of the Brunswick Manifesto is notably not included.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Suffice it to say, while the Revolution and the Duc d'Orléans are controversial to this day, they were not AS bad as they are generally portrayed here. This is especially evident in Orléans' case since, even in the 18th century, he was acquitted of any part in the March to Versailles, was never tied to the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, and openly remarked that he wanted to live in a country estate in England.
  • Identical Stranger: Marie and Margrid's resemblance is often remarked on by other characters. Justified by The Reveal that they're half-sisters.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Marie Antoinette, though that doesn't stop her from believing that she's the divinely ordained monarch of France.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Marie Antoinette and Margrid are half-sisters.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Orléans in the Hungarian production. He was in love with Marie Antoinette but, when she rejected him, he decided to have revenge and becomes the antagonist as a result.
  • Masquerade Ball: Across all the productions, Orléans takes Margrid to one where her resemblance to Marie is highlighted by Fersen briefly mistaking her for the other. In the revised plot, this is Played for Drama, with the Affair of the Diamond Necklace taking place at the same time.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In the revised plot, while Orléans sings "Illusionen" in the foreground, Margrid takes the paper slip from Hébert that proves that he collaborated with Orléans to take the throne. This later indicts both of them.
  • Royal Bastard: Margrid is revealed to be the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor of Austria, which also makes her the paternal half-sister of Marie Antoinette.
  • Only in It for the Money: Margrid tries to convince a group of women to join in the March to Versailles for idealistic reasons, but they aren't interested in anything she has to say until Orléans tosses a few gold coins their way. This was something that Orléans was accused of historically.
  • Saintly Church: Agnés, as the main representative of the Catholic Church in the German and 2006 Toho productions, tends to act as the moral compass of the show.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Orléans during Marie's trial in the 2018 Toho production.
  • Tragic Dropout: Margrid was kicked out of convent school when she was either 9 or 11, depending on the production, and was left on the streets when the money to fund her education ran out.
  • Villainous Crush: Orléans for Margrid in the Bremen production. "Und will ich dich for mich ganz allein," anyone?
    • This is a common thread for Orléans; he also gets this in the Hungarian for Marie Antoinette herself.
  • Villain Song: Orléans gets Weil ich Besser Bin.
    • In the revised plot, he also gets "Illusionen."
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Orléans gets in good with the revolutionary crowd, creating this effect.

Alternative Title(s): Marie Antoinette