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Hey Carmen

based on Georges Bizet's Carmen
(with help from Richard Wagner's
Die Walküre
and Ruggero Leoncavallo's
not to mention Wolfgang Mozart's
Le Nozze di Figaro,
and possibly Gioachino Rossini's
Il Barbiere di Siviglia as well)

Music by:
Jim Lang
Georges Bizet (
Carmen, most of the music used)
Richard Wagner (
Die Walküre (The Valkyries), used for Helga's "viking" music)
Ruggero Leoncavallo (
Pagliacci (The Clowns), used for Harold's clown opening)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (
Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), although I didn't notice which music, if any, came from that opera; Gerald first appeared as Figaro)
(some music (used in the scene where Helga changes into Carmhelga) might be from Gioachino Rossini's
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville))
Text by: Craig Bartlett and/or Jim Lang

Originally performed November 17, 1997
Original Cast:

Arnold (singing) - Toran Caudell
Arnold (speaking) - Phillip Van Dyke
Gerald - Jamil Smith
Harold - Justin Shenkarow
Ruth - Lacey Chabert
Helga - Francesca Marie Smith
Curly - Adam Wylie
Stinky - Christopher Walberg
Sid - Sam Gifaldi
Brainy - Craig Bartlett

Regular text indicates spoken lines
Italics indicate sung lines

If your computer can play MIDI files, click on an underlined song title below to hear its music.
For more information on MIDI and opera, check out:

Thanks to the MIDI transcribers whose music (well, excerpts of whose music) is used here:

  • "Ride of the Valkyries" by Larry Roberts (71301.1145@compuserve.com), one of the managers MIDI Business Online (http://www.midibiz.w1.com)
  • "Toreador Song" by Jason Kaufman (kaufmajs@email.uc.edu)
  • "Carmen Act IV opening" by Alfredo Muñoz-Málaga
  • "Vesti la Giubba" by Robert Steinberg of the MidiOpera company (midiopra@mail.tcol.net)
  • "Habañera" - well, the actual music doesn't quite match the way it was sung on the show, so I wrote one that was a little closer (it may not be very loud, since it's only solo violin and solo cello)

MIDI files used here © their respective authors and are used with permission (although you have permission to copy my version of "Habañera").

The Scene: An opera house in a big city, "today"

Arnold appears on an empty stage. Gerald, apparently dressed as Figaro (from Le Nozze di Figaro), appears briefly. Arnold then sees Harold, dressed as the clown Pagliaccio (from Pagliacci):

Music: [Vesti la Giubba] from Pagliacci

HAROLD: I'm a - I'm a...
Big, ugly clown-o;
A big, sad, ugly clown - ohhhhh...

Harold runs off stage, which becomes Seville, Spain, in the early 1800s (the setting of Carmen). Arnold is now dressed as "Don Arnold". A young woman (Ruth) appears at the top of a staircase.

Music: [Habañera] from Carmen

I'm Ruth McCarmen, and awfully charmin' -
I guess you noticed by the way you stare;
You're not bad, either - let's take a breather,
And we can talk about my auburn hair!
Her auburn hair - you're standing there!
Why don't you introduce yourself to Ruth?
STINKY: She's like a flower blossom!
SID: I know - she's wicked awesome!
GERALD: C'mon, Arnold, it's the moment of truth!

My name's Don Arnold...please have a caramel;
Your hair is lovely - do you like my pants?
They're made of satin; the cape's pure Latin -
I had it tailored in the south of France!
The south of France - your satin pants;
Why don't you ask the lady for a dance?
STINKY: It's time for your decision!
SID: It's almost intermission!
GERALD: Hey, Arnold - you better ask her to dance!

As Arnold and Ruth are about to dance, a lightning bolt signals the arrival of Helga, a Valkyire riding a winged horse.

Music: [Ride of the Valkyries] from Die Walkure

Ruth is a lightweight - a giggling geek-bait;
I'm here to thrash her - that's what I said!
Ruth is a loser! How could you choose her?
How could you do that, football head?
CHORUS: Football head! Football head!
HELGA: To show my contempt, her picture I shred!
Helga rips up a picture of Ruth.
STINKY: Helga's a viking!
SID: Sure is exciting!
HELGA: I'm gonna thump her right on the head!
ARNOLD: Oh yeah? How?
HELGA: With my golden magic slingshot!
STINKY: Golden magic slingshot?
SID: Golden magic slingshot?
GERALD: I thought it was spear and a magic helmet.
HELGA: No - with my golden magic slingshot!
Doy! Hey, Ruth - scene's over, bonehead!

Helga shoots a lightning bolt from her slingshot; it hits a backstage switch, which opens a trap door in the stage through which Ruth falls through.

ARNOLD: Ruth? Ruth?

Arnold sees someone dressed as Carmen hiding her face behind a fan.


The girl reveals herself to be Helga.

Music: [Habañera] from Carmen

HELGA: Ruth? Hmpfh!
Just like I stated, she's overrated;
A big no-brainer with enormous feet!
Why not forget her? I'm so much better;
My name's Carmhelga and I'm awfully sweet!
She's awfully sweet - such tiny feet!
Her name's Carmhelga and you two should meet!
HELGA: Come join my band of gypsies!
CHORUS: We're touring fifty cities!
HELGA: With you, my gypsy band will be...
CHORUS: Complete!
HELGA: Perfect! What could possibly be better than this?

The bullfighter Curlamillo (Curly) appears.

CURLY: Hold it!
GIRLS: Curlamillo! It's Curlamillo!

The girls (except Carmhelga) swoon.

Music: [Toreador Song] from Carmen

CURLY: (spoken like Elvis Presley) Thank you very much!
I'm so fine, the girls know I'm divine;
The thing is, I'm sublime - it's really true, you know;
Check out my cuspidor! I'm what you're looking for;
Helga, won't you dump this guy and come to my bullfights?
HELGA: Bullfights, huh?
Bullfights and swordfights, rolling in manure;
Blows to the head I can endure!
Fighting bulls is all I want in life -
Plus I could use a wife,
And several pairs of tights in shades of blue;
Helga, please say "I Do"!

Don Arnold grabs something that's supposed to be a sword, but is really a thin padded cone of some sort. Curlamillo does the same.

ARNOLD: Wait a minute - en garde!
CURLY: Cafe au lait!
CHORUS: Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Music during the swordfight: [the bullfighters' music from Act IV] of Carmen

Don Arnold and Curlamillo clash swords, making their way through the stage, the orchestra, and backstage as well. In the process, Eugene is nearly hit with a bag of sand, which does manage to spill sand over his face.

At last, my dream comes true!
Arnold, my true love, saving my honor, duelling to the death!
Be still, my beating heart!
Hush, my distempered breath!
BRAINY is heard breathing
I said "Hush, my distempered breath"!

Helga punches Brainy in the nose. Don Arnold "stabs" Curlamillo by sticking his "sword" underneath Curlamillo's underarm.

CURLY: Aaaugh! (Elvis impression:) Thank you very much!
HELGA: Don Arnold! My love!

Don Arnold and Carmhelga are about to kiss when the set collapses. Don Arnold leaves the stage, leaving Carmhelga alone.

Helga: Arnold! Don Arnold! Wait, my love! Don't go...


Regular lines are spoken (well, "rapped") by Gerald
Bold lines are sung by the cast, to the music of the [Toreador Song] from Carmen

The opera? What a waste of a good field trip!
Contests of brute strength, wrestling in the mud!
I'm looking for some music to listen to
Curly's the best;
That's right - tastes so good it's right
Arnold's a dud!
Helga, you should really get a clue;
Whatever you say - that's right - what's a Torero?
Curlamillo's for you!
Arnold is last week's news -
He's overdue;

Curly's the one...for you!
This is over!

(Maybe that last line should have been "La Commedia è Finita!" (Italian for "The comedy is ended!"), which is the last line from Pagliacci...)

The real Carmen - the really short version

In Seville, Spain, about 150 years ago, Carmen was a gypsy who worked in a tobacco factory. All of the men in town were enchanted by her - except one: Don José, a corporal in the town guard. His mother wants him to marry a young woman that lives with her; he's about to go with her when he has to break up a fight in the factory in which Carmen wounds another worker. He's supposed to take Carmen to jail, but she talks him into letting her go so they can meet later outside of the city; smitten with her, he agrees, only to be arrested for it as she escapes.

Later, after Don José is freed, Carmen is entertaining some officers of the guard, including Don José's commander. She refuses the advances of both the commander and Escamillo the bullfighter. Don José returns and is jealous that she was dancing for others, then he hears the signal for him to return to his camp. Carmen asks him to run away from the army and join her in the mountains, but he refuses. His commander returns, and Don José attacks him in a fit of jealousy. Realizing that the army doesn't exactly give you a medal for attacking one of your superiors, Don José runs off with Carmen.

In the mountains, Don José looks out upon the valley where his mother lives. Carmen suggests that he go down to her. Soon after, Don José shoots at what he thinks is an intruder; it is Escamillo, leading a herd of bulls into Seville for the upcoming bullfights. Escamillo mentions a soldier that Carmen once loved. Don José reveals that he is that soldier. They fight, but Carmen returns and breaks it up. The girl whom Don José was originally planning to marry then appears and tells him that his mother is dying; together, they go to her, but he promises Carmen that he will return to her.

As the bullfighters make their way to the arena, Carmen is with Escamillo; they are in love. As Escamillo goes to the arena, Don José appears out of the crowd and asks Carmen to come back to him, but she will not. Don José realizes she is in love with Escamillo and refuses to let her go to him. Carmen takes a ring Don José gave her and throws it back at him. Don José responds by stabbing her with a knife, killing her. As the crowd exits the arena, they see the dead Carmen, as well as Don José, who confesses his crime.

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