“Deborah Henson-Conant’s genius is on full display in her stunning musical THE GOLDEN CAGE. A musical and lyrical masterpiece, the score is deeply satisfying in its harmonic inventions that will remind you of both Sondheim and Guettel – but is truly the composer’s own unique voice. The lyrics and the dialogue are expertly woven into this two-person musical that will delight sophisticated audiences”.
About “The Golden Cage”
About “The Golden Cage”
A Two-Character Fantasy Musical by Deborah Henson-Conant
It’s not exactly your conventional woman-meets-man story.
Consider: A birdman, Boris, is searching for the ultimate symbol of security: a mythical golden cage.
After a lifelong quest, he discovers it, carved into the summit of a 500,000-foot-high granite cliff.
There’s just one problem: it’s not empty. Inside is a woman, Alphea, who claims the cage is made of granite and iron, that she’s been there forever and she’s a prisoner.
Sure that she’s crazy, Boris rips the bars from her cage, coaxes her to the top of the mountain and … pushes her to her death.
Then he gloatingly takes up residence. A safe home at last! But wait – now he’s the one who can’t get out.”
The struggle between freedom and security is timeless and universal, the compulsion to strive … or to hide … are the human impulses that lead to both success and addiction. Alphea and Boris epitomize the human experience of longing for security, getting trapped in isolation, and forgetting that freedom comes through our connection to each other – and to who we each most deeply are.
Meet The Characters: Boris & Alphea
Alphea J. Simpson-Hughes is a melodramatic diva who can’t remember how she became imprisoned, and tries on different costumes to suit her mood.
VOICE RANGE: Soprano/Mezzo (or Tenor/Baritone if played by a male)
BODY-TYPE, AGE, RACE, EHNICITY: Irrelevant
Stage, Costumes & Basic Tech
The inside of the cage is filled with shelves, nicknacks, costumes, marble collections, wigs, bottles, instruments and books – and in the middle of the cage is an immense desk.
COSTUMES: Boris is a birdman, with bright red feathers, wings, tail and small but impressive crest. Alphea changes costume to fit her mood, pulling on a Wagnerian breastplate, a Marie-Antoinette wig filled with hair curlers, an apron, a sword, etc. Later she has her own wings, tail and crest.
SET: Single unit set
ORCHESTRA: Piano (or piano, cello & drums)
PRODUCTION HISTORY: Currently in development through readings and feedback sessions with Paul Gordon, writer/composer of Broadway’s “Jane Eyre” and “Daddy LongLegs,” and his creative team.
RUNNING TIME: Approximately 75 min without intermission
Hear a Scene from the Show
(TBF – this is the 5-Minute audio sample to accompany the Live Arts Boston (LAB) Grant Application)
About the Creator
Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-nominated composer and performer whose work combines story and music. Her works range from one-woman operas and song cycles, to musical theater, suites and concertos.
She’s premiered dozens of her own works for electric harp, voice and orchestra with both regional and national orchestras including Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Tacoma Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic. She’s performed her original one- woman musicals at the Chicago Humanities Festival, Kennedy Center, Boston’s Lyric Stage and Central Square Theater.
She collaborated in the development of the world’s top-selling electric body-harp which is named after her, the “DHC,” designed and manufactured by the French CAMAC harp company.
Her creative mentorship program “Harness Your Muse” supports performers in developing new solo projects combining theater and music. Her online Academy, with over 1000 members, provides training in musical performance and improvisation.
Her residencies include collaborations with students, faculty and dance departments. Her cross- discipline collaboration project with scientists, dancers and journalists, “Inviting Invention” was a feature of the Cambridge Science Festival and her words-and-music project “Strings of Passion” is used in audience outreach.
Her original solo symphonic show, “Invention & Alchemy” appeared on PBS stations throughout the US and the CD garnered a Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album.
Her operatic works for soprano and chamber ensemble were the focus of Boston University’s “Mythic Women” project in 2014 in collaboration with the chamber ensemble department. Her concertos “Soñando en Español” and “Baroque Flamenco” are performed by harp soloists with orchestras worldwide. [Photo above by Chehalis Hegner-Ganson]