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This really is a colossal waste of time.

"So, will this Phoenix take flight off the ground?
I'll soar with glory, my story will be renowned!
Now, let's get this trial underway!
My courtroom premiere!
I will persevere!
I'm here on this clear
August day!"
Phoenix Wright, "August Day"

Back in 2007, there was an idea posted on the Court Records Ace Attorney fan forum. Said idea then exploded into a revolution.

Turnabout Musical is a fan-made musical based on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It follows the story of the first game, and the writers have tried to adapt it as faithfully as possible. The complete soundtrack (with the exception of the final song, "Dawn of a New Trial") is available on the project's website.

On December 18, 2016, the group Nostalgification performed a truncated version of the musicalnote  and posted it to their YouTube channel. You can see the final multicam edit with full credits here. A second live recording, of Albino Squirrel Productions’ 2021 performance at the Phoenix Theater, can be found here. In May 2022, it was announced that the cut case from the shortened version, Turnabout Samurai, would be performed as a standalone experience. Two virtual productions of the show, produced by Gero Productions, will be released in December.

On May 10, 2019, the first edition of the Turnabout Musical Production Package was released, seen here. In support of a new generation of fans showing interest in the project, an effort was made to collect every existing piece of media related to the project, including full scripts, sheet music, demos, storyboards, and more. The package is planned to be updated as new content is found and released.

Matthew Taranto (TriforceBun) is the voice of Phoenix Wright, major songwriter and composer for the project and has since become the creator and head writer of Brawl in the Family as well as creating and releasing a musical video game, Tadpole Treble. Lucía Lobosvilla (pleading-eyes), the project co-head and voice of Maya Fey, wrote for Avatar: The Last Puppetbender and has since gone on to create an original audio drama.

The project was a massive undertaking and involved many dedicated and talented fans and friends to create the original show for the web format, with a total of no less than nineteen songwriters, many of whom wore multiple hats in the other creative departments on the project. Some of them contributed to as few as one or two songs, but others help to define the show's sound, such as TriforceBun.

On June 1, 2022, the Maya Fey Protection Squad announced Turnabout: An Ace Attorney Musical, a reimagining of the existing show that includes new songs, streamlined trials, and focus on character arcs. This show is aimed to be fully accessible to an audience totally unfamiliar with the game, as well as to be more feasible for an actual stage production. Act 1 of this project was released on the project's 15th anniversary in November 2022, and Act 2 (the final part) was released in March 2023.

It has inspired the Ghost Trick Musical, which is officially the sister project of this, and the Apollo Justice Musical, an unrelated production based on the fourth game in the series.

This colossal waste of time provides examples of:

  • Accent Adaptation: Several characters are given an accent to reflect their personality. April May is given a Joisey accent, where Redd White dons the stereotypical, upper-crust snob accent peppered all over American media.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The live performance cut out case 3 with the exception of "Decree of the Prosecutor" which was put at the end of case 2 instead, and the scripted version of case 3 is condensed from three days to two.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Despite her first canonical appearance being Justice for All, Maggey Byrde shows up alongside Gumshoe during the first song and is mentioned by him later on.
    • Furio Tigre also pops up in the same song, despite not appearing until Trials and Tribulations in the game. His hair is down and he's wearing a fedora, but he slicks his hair back into spikes when he sees Phoenix.
    • Dustin Prince, also from Justice for All, appears as the court bailiff.
    • Lana Skye and Mike Meekins, both from Rise From the Ashes, the game's bonus fifth case, have cameo appearances. Angel Starr is also mentioned by name as one of Larry’s girlfriends.
    • In the spoof song "It's Gotta Be The Insanity", Moe (from Justice for All) and Godot (from Trials and Tribulations) both appear.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A minor example, but the musical puts a bigger focus on the relationship between Phoenix and Mia, and the effects her mentorship had on him, where the games bordered on Angst? What Angst? in his reaction to her death.
  • Age Lift: In the live version, Penny Nichols is aged down for a cameo as Cody Hackins' classmate in August Day.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: It's a musical of the first Ace Attorney game.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Done intentionally with Redd White - he claims that the statue in his office is a Paris original from Canada, and that he loves "the mountain with the Presidents' heads" and the "big tower that leans to the side" there.
  • Artistic License – History: A minor case, but the line "It was TUESDAY!" from "It's Gotta Be the Butz!" conflicts with reality. The event being described happened on Christmas Day, 2016, which happened to fall on a Sunday.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Steel Samurai Song mentions a Princess Yume-Hime whose dreams can predict the future. "Yume" means dream" and "hime" means princess, so her name becomes "Princess Dream Princess."
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: One of Manfred von Karma’s lines in "600,000 Volts (Out of My Way)" is "foolish fool," a phrase more commonly used by his daughter Franziska in the games.
  • The Cameo: Penny Nichols, who otherwise doesn't appear in the third case (in-universe she's taking time off for school) is in August Day.
  • Canon Foreigner: Belinda Dubois, Grossberg's secretary, is musical-exclusive, as is Princess Yume-Hime.
  • Catchphrase: Throughout Case 4, Gumshoe repeatedly shouts "For Mr. Edgeworth!!!" as he exits.
  • Character Exaggeration: Being a musical based in a World of Ham, this is heavily utilized with some of the more extreme personalities.
    • Larry Butz. While perfectly in line with his original personality, the transition from limited animation to real actors makes his hyper, erratic nature much more apparent.
    • "It's Gotta Be the Butz!" also plays up his chaotic energy much more than the original scene it's based on.
  • Composite Character: Angel Starr from ”Rise from the Ashes” is mentioned as being Larry’s girlfriend by the time of the Gourd Lake murder, a role that belonged to the unseen character Kiyance in the original game.
    • In Turnabout: An Ace Attorney Musical, Marvin Grossberg fills both his role in case 2 as well as taking Robert Hammond's place as the defense attorney in DL-6 and the victim of case 4.
  • Counterpoint Duet: Done several times:
    • "Make It Right" between Phoenix and Maya.
    • "I'll Be There" between Phoenix and Maya again.
    • "The Way Things Were" between Oldbag and Gumshoe.
    • "The Samurai Always Wins" has a counterpoint quintet between Phoenix, Cody, Edgeworth, Powers, and the Judge.
      • By extension, "Redd White Adieu" from Turnabout: An Ace Attorney Musical has Redd White singing counter to Phoenix, Edgeworth, and the ensemble in succession.
    • "Alone" has a trio between Phoenix, Maya, and Edgeworth.
    • "Lotta Things" between Lotta and Phoenix.
    • "It's Gotta Be the Butz!" has a trio between Larry, Edgeworth, and von Karma.
    • "600,000 Volts" has a trio between Phoenix, Maya, and von Karma.
    • "Tomorrow, at Last" has three: Maya and Mia, Phoenix and Maya, the crowd and several characters in succession.
    • "Who Killed Gregory Edgeworth" includes three: Edgeworth and the ensemble near the beginning, Phoenix and the ensemble near the middle, and Mia/Maya, Edgeworth and the ensemble near the end.
    • "Justice for All (Reprise)" has two: von Karma and Mia, Phoenix and Mia.
  • Cultural Translation: It's based on the USA localization.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Edgeworth pulls this when initially refusing Phoenix's request to defend him:
    Phoenix: But I've won every case!
    Edgeworth: All three? What an ace.
  • Darker and Edgier: A minor example, but the musical adds lines that would never be allowed in the games, for example:
    Gumshoe: You can call him Missile, he'll find any drugs or clues you need!
    Phoenix: Well, he should come in handy if the Gourd Lake Monster's been smoking weed.
    • In "600,000 Volts", Manfred von Karma makes several threats to kill Phoenix and Maya if they don't hand over a piece of evidence, the most notable being "The trial is ending/Now your life's depending/On lending that parchment you see" and "You ought to know better/Now hand me that letter/Lest you watch your girlfriend be slain".
  • Dark Reprise: Commonly used throughout the musical.
    • The end of "Reawakening" is essentially a dark reprise of itself, as Phoenix's joy and confidence after his first victory is immediately replaced with despair over Mia's death.
    • "Redd White and You" includes a reprise of "Reawakening". While the original verse talks about Phoenix's hope that Mia will be there to support him, the reprise has Phoenix telling Redd White about how Mia was onto his corruption.
    • The reprise of "I'll Be There" in "Lotta Things"
  • Death by Adaptation: In Turnabout: An Ace Attorney Musical, Marvin Grossberg takes the role of Robert Hammond as the victim of case 4.
  • Defrosting Ice King: It's even more evident with Edgeworth here than in the original game, where he stopped being antagonistic but his personality was otherwise mostly unchanged. At the end of the musical, when the gang is celebrating and are approached with the bill, everyone (except Phoenix) calls "Not it" on paying - Edgeworth included, who then proceeds to playfully chide a protesting Nick about how calling such is "infallible".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Princess Yume-Hime's dreams can predict the future. "Yume" means dream" and "hime" means princess, so her name becomes "Princess Dream Princess."
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Twice near the end of "Lotta Things", Phoenix says something involving sight or seeing, then has an epiphany—first, that Lotta having claimed to have clearly seen Edgeworth constituted a new testimony that he could cross-examine when the Judge was about to give a verdict, and then when he realizes she couldn't have seen him clearly.
  • Evil Laugh: Redd White gives out a maniacal cackle at the end of "Redd White and You". Manfred von Karma uses a deeper, more menacing variety in "Anything to Win" and "600,000 Volts (Out of My Way)".
  • Heroic Bystander: After von Karma confesses to Gregory Edgeworth's murder he pulls out a pistol in an attempt to kill Miles Edgeworth. He's stopped by the court bailiff, who also pulls out a gun and holds him in a standoff until order's restored.
  • Hero vs. Villain Duet: "600,000 Volts/Out of My Way" is a trio between the protagonist, Phoenix Wright, his companion Maya Fey, and the Big Bad, Manfred von Karma. Von Karma orders the heroes to hand over a piece of incriminating evidence they found by threatening them with a stun gun. Phoenix and Maya sing about how they will not be intimidated and will do whatever it takes to serve justice.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Winston Payne, although it's not much worse than his usual voice.
  • Hypocrite: In "Justice For All (Reprise)", von Karma accuses Phoenix of having used any dirty tactics possible to win. This being after Phoenix jumps through nine million hoops to work around von Karma's own dirty tactics and use legitimate evidence to make his points. Granted the accusation probably isn't driven any belief that his opponent cheating would've been wrong, just that catching him in the act would win him the trial.
  • "I Am" Song:
    • "Justice for All" could be considered this for Mia, in regards to her beliefs pertaining to her work.
    • "Anything to Win" is this for von Karma, highlighting his obsession with maintaining his perfect record at any cost.
    • The beginning of "A Guy You Can Trust" is this for Detective Gumshoe, as he admits that, try as he might, his detective work isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Ignored Epiphany: "Decree of the Prosecutor" has Edgeworth pause and consider his actions, as well as how justified he is in his all-guilty record. He ultimately decides that the ends justify the means, since putting all suspects in jail is the safest thing to do, so he can ensure other families don't go through what he did.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Miles is telling Phoenix who Manfred von Karma is, Miles mentions that von Karma is the one who took him in after his father died. Phoenix says "Great! Maybe he'll go easy on you." Then von Karma's song "Anything to Win" begins with Ominous Pipe Organ, making it clear that he is most certainly not going to go easy.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Payne: You should just walk out that door!
    [Mia and Phoenix leave].
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: "Beautiful Christmas Day" appears to be this at first, focusing on Phoenix, Maya, and Gumshoe enjoying themselves on Christmas. This is, however, ultimately subverted. The plot kicks into full gear at the end as it's revealed that Edgeworth has been arrested for supposed murder.
  • Large Ham: EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER. It's a musical based on Phoenix Wright, it's to be expected.
  • Late for School: Late for court, technically, but the musical opens with Phoenix running late and booking it to the trial.
  • Living Statue: The live version has Redd's Bluecorp statue played by an actor, billed as the Surprisingly Movable Statue.
  • Mood Whiplash: 'Reawakening' goes from Phoenix's pride over winning his first case and imagining his future working with Mia to finding her dead body in her office.
  • Movie Bonus Song:
    • The live version got "Who Killed Gregory Edgeworth", incorporating lyrics from "The Price of Failure" as well.
    • Turnabout: An Ace Attorney Musical adds "Fight Like a Fey", a solo number for Maya in the detention center after Mia's death, and "Redd White Adieu", a song for the climax of case 2 which incorporates elements from "The Samurai Always Wins".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Taken even further than the source material.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: A comment made by Maya during "Make It Right" ("You were just singing his praises. Literally. Singing.") indicates the Alternate Universe Hypothesis applies here.
    • In "The Scent of Fresh Lemons" (the first one), Phoenix begs for Grossberg to stop singing.
    • In "Dawn of a New Trial (Demo), Phoenix and Maya have been reprising several songs from the show. Maya begins to leave to catch her train, but Phoenix stops her, suggesting they "do one more."
    Maya: Well, I guess I better get going.
    Phoenix: Hold on, Maya. I think we have time for one more, don't you?
    Maya: I guess so. But we better make it quick!
  • Named by the Adaptation: Redd White's unnamed secretary who calls the prosecutor's office is named Belinda Dubois in the musical. Unlike the game, she's actually seen in person.
    • The names of the people on Mia's list read during the Redd White trial are actually heard, unlike the game.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Anything To Win has a Latin chorus in the background as von Karma introduces himsef and his philosophy.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Used in most scenes associated with von Karma, especially his songs:
    • Used throughout "Anything to Win", giving the song a powerful, etheral tone, fitting for how von Karma is described as - and acts like - a god.
    • Used very creatively in "600,000 Volts/Out of My Way" at the ending, where an organ plays some dramatic chords, accompanied by the sound of von Karma's stun gun, which sounds like thunder. In the last chord, the organ and thunder sounds are joined by his Evil Laugh for terrifying effect.
    • "Who Killed Gregory Edgeworth" uses an instrumental from "Anything to Win" while von Karma is speaking.
    • A brief snippet of "Anything to Win" is played on an organ during the Overture.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Often times Phoenix. Take 'The Samurai Always Wins', for example:
    Cody: And I stood nearby when the Samurai shot lasers from his eyes.
    Phoenix: Wait, what?
    Cody: And he flew up high, reaching to the sky— a bright metallic sheen!
    Phoenix: Oh boy...
    • Which is followed by this:
    Phoenix: Cody, what kind of murderer uses a 'Samurai Slap'? Or, for that matter, shoots lasers from his eyes?
    • "A Guy You Can Trust" almost entirely consists of Phoenix applying logic to Gumshoe's ridiculous ideas (specifically, thinking a drug-detection dog, a fishing pole, and a metal detector would be at all useful in catching a lake monster).
    Phoenix: We're looking for a monster, not change in someone's pants!
    Gumshoe: Well, you never know, pal! It may have been eating soda cans!
    Phoenix: Of course!
    • Surprisingly, the Judge of all people has shades of this.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Referenced by Wendy Oldbag in "The Way Things Were"
    What would you know/ You disrespectful punk?/ Back in my day, if you talked like that/ We'd lock you in a trunk!
  • Reprise Medley: "Dawn of a New Trial", which reprises "Justice for All", "Make It Right", "Decree of the Prosecutor", "I'll Be There", and "The Objection Song".
  • Running Gag: Any time Phoenix mentions Grossberg's past, he launches into the gag song "The Scent of Fresh Lemons." The second time has it happen as a homonym for "passed," while the third time is initiated by Grossberg himself.
  • Say My Name: "And we'll meet again, PHOENIX WRIGHT!!!"
  • Self-Serving Memory: Oldbag's rosy picture of Jack Hammer isn't how things went at all, which she admits to Phoenix and Maya later.
  • Shout-Out: In the December 2016 live performance, Larry pulls out a top hat and a cane at the end of It's Gotta Be The Butz, in reference to the Storyboard version created eight years previously.
  • Sinister Tango Music: Dee Vasquez's testimony song, "Battle of Wits," is in the form of a tango.
  • The Something Song: "The Objection Song"
  • Song Parody: There are a few "official" parodies of the songs from this musical, mostly written by TriforceBun. These include:
    • "It's Gotta Be the Insanity!", a parody of "It's Gotta Be the Butz!"
    • "The Objuicy Song", a parody of "The Objection Song"
    • "I'll Be There, Pal!", a parody of "I'll Be There"
    • "Franzy's Decree," a parody of "Decree of the Prosecutor."
    • He also wrote a song about the project itself called "Circle of Tri". Three guesses what song it parodies.
  • Southern Gentleman: Grossberg and Yanni Yogi are this in the Nostalgiafication version.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Rookie Killer, The Scent Of Fresh Lemons and Pasta Shop are deliberately silly gag songs.
  • That Was Objectionable: Said word for word by Edgeworth (naturally, as he is the Trope Namer) when, for the first time, Phoenix makes a point that Edgeworth can't counter.
  • The Song Before the Storm: Tomorrow, At Last, which takes place on the night before the final battle between Phoenix Wright and Manfred von Karma.
  • Unfortunate Names: Lampshaded when Phoenix spells out Larry's name to Mia.
    Phoenix: Larry Butz. B-U-T-Z. That's his name.
    Mia: That's... unfortunate.
  • Tamer and Chaster: While not devoid of innuendo, April May's appearances are arguably toned down from the game, at least in the live version.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Justice for All (Reprise)."
  • Villain Song: Quite a few:
    • Redd White gets the catchy, glitzy Redd White and You, which starts out with Redd describing how well-loved he is. When Redd realizes that Phoenix is on to him, the lyrics become much darker, as Redd gloats about how powerful he is due to his wealth and publicity, and how Phoenix, being merely a rookie lawyer, doesn't stand a chance against him.
    • While he is brought down from villain status very soon afterwards, Decree of the Prosecutor can be considered one for Miles Edgeworth. It starts with him questioning his own motives and whether his methods are justifiable and ends with him affirming that he had never been in the wrong and vowing to bring down Phoenix Wright himself.
    • Manfred von Karma gets two: Anything to Win, in which he sings about how he despises people in general, believing that they are all criminals, and how he wishes to put them all behind bars. Like "Redd White and You", this song also contains a fair amount of gloating about the singer's power. He also has 600,000 Volts/Out of My Way, when he confronts Phoenix and Maya with a stun gun, and knocks them unconscious so he can take away the incriminating evidence they found. The song's lines are spread out pretty evenly between the three characters, but by the end of the song, only von Karma is left, gloating once again.
    • Winston Payne tries to do one with The Rookie Killer, but it doesn't work out so well for him.
  • World of Ham: To be expected. After all, it's a musical based on Ace Attorney.

Alternative Title(s): Phoenix Wright Musical Project