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"Nothing Beats Chicago"/"Ocean Is Different"/"Danced With a Girl" .... Dante
"Tou Mi Mi" ........... Lisette
"Miracles and Mysteries" ...... Marie Christine's Mother & Prisoners
"I Don't Hear the Ocean" ..... Dante & Marie Christine
"Bird Inside the House" ..... Maids & Valets
"All Eyes Look Upon You" ..... Jean
"A Month Ago" ...... Maids
"Danced With a Girl" (Reprise).... Dante
"We're Gonna Go to Chicago" ... Dante & Marie Christine
"Dansez Calinda" ..... Lisette
"I Will Give" ..... Marie Christine & Prisoners
Finale of Act I ...... Paris & Company

1899. A saloon in the First Ward, Chicago. An alleyway. A small house and its interior; Interior of a church.

Opening/"I Will Love You" ..... Prisoners, Dante, Marie Christine
"Cincinnati" ........ Magdalena & Daughters
"You're Looking at the Man" .... Leary, McMahon, Dante & Company
"The Scorpion" ..... Dante & Marie Christine
"Lover Bring Me Summer".....Olivia & Grace Parker
"Tell Me" ...... Marie Christine
"Paradise Is Burning Down" ..... Magdalena
"Prison in a Prison" ..... Marie Christine & Prisoners, Helena & Dante
"Better & Best" ..... Leary & McMahon
"Good Looking Woman" ..... Gates, Leary & McMahon
"No Turning Back" ..... Paris, Mother, Jean & Lisette
"Beautiful" (Reprise)..... Marie Christine
"A Lovely Wedding" ..... Magdalena
"I Will Love You" (Reprise) ..... Marie Christine 
"Your Name" ..... Dante
Finale of Act II ....... Women


Conductor/Keyboard - David Evans
Associate Conductor/Keyboards - Lawrence Yurman
Musical Coordinator - Seymour Red Press
Woodwinds - Steven Kenyon, John Moses, Richard Heckman, John Winder;
Trumpets - Brian O'Flaherty, Kamau Adilifu; French Horns - Peter Gordon, Janet Lantz;
Violins - Robert Lawrence, Maura Giannini; Viola - Kenneth Burward-Hoy; 
Cello - Scott Ballantyne; Bass - Raymond Kilday; 
Percussion - Raymond Grappone; 
Percussion/Synthesizer - Lawrence Spivack

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Marie Christine is freely adapted from the legend of Medea. It is set at the end of the last century, amid the corrupt political atmosphere of Chicago and the vestiges of antebellum Creole society of New Orleans. It is impossible to offer a brief explanation of Creole culture in America. The term "Creole" is not precise to begin with - it has different meanings in various countries. In this country, specifically Louisiana, "Creole" was used to distinguish descendants of the original French colonists from those of native Americans, African, African-American and Cajun heritage. Most black Creoles traced their lineage back to the West Indies as well as to France. The defunct terms mulatto, quadroon and octoroon were used to distinguish Creoles who were one-half, one-quarter or one-eighth black, created in part by white socio-politics or, rather, slavery. 

* * *

A century ago, Colonial French was spoken among the genteel classes of New Orleans Creole society. Marie Christine and her brothers would have used Colonial French in everyday conversation (the character Paris sings an artsong set to the poetry of Jules Laforgue: "Complainte de Lord Pierrot"). Black Africans with French linguistic heritage - primarily those from the West Indies - invented many words to accommodate their needs in America. Hundreds of Creole dialects existed; patois was spoken among those of lower economic and educational class. Marie Christine's servants sing "Bird Inside the House" - a "pass-along" (coded communication). Her young maid, Lisette, sings in patois: "Tou mi mi a chez da tom-tom; she do savior no cielo..." (which translates as "Place a mirror inside her tomb, she'd rather look at herself than at the stars.")

* * * 

Voudon, or as it has come to be known, voodoo, is a form of religious practice brought to the Americas by enslaved West Africans. In Caribbean cultures, as well as some South American cultures, voudon is often combined with the religious iconography of Catholicism: martyrs and saints representing African gods and spirits, etc. "Ou ye ye, 'Mamzell' Marie, li konin tou..." is a version of a ritual chant recorded by the historian Louis Tallant. Marie Christine takes place in a time when voudon was less about magic spells and more about holistic medicine. Many so-called "voodoo priestesses" were actually folk doctors. Yet there is no denying an esoteric side to this practice. Like hypnosis voudon can work psychologically on an individual. The power of suggestion is the greatest tool of voudon, as it is in any religion. It can be used to beneficial means, as well as to real, very harmful ends.