In a mid-sized city there is a small but successful vocal arts academy run by Michael Rose. His interest is with early English composers and Henry Purcell in particular. Jacob, his son, is in his mid 20s and is deaf. He works for Michael as a set designer and painter. Cecelia Larsson is one of Michael’s most promising students and he prepares her for a career in opera. Michael knows that if he trains her to be ruthless and selfish she will be able to do well in the competitive world of high musical theater.
What Michael does not know is that Cecelia and Jacob are having an affair. It is an unmatched relationship. Jacob is truly in love with Cecelia but she is simply having fun for the moment.
At a pivotal moment during a singing lesson, Jacob mistakenly thinks that Michael is trying to seduce Cecelia. Jacob snaps and a physical fight ensues leaving Michael badly hurt and sends Cecelia running in fear.
Cecelia goes on to do great things in the next 17 years and establishes herself as a great diva. Along the way she lays waste to several relationships, she is married and then divorced, and generally makes many enemies of people that are in her way or pose a threat. And she makes friends, or lovers, of people that will help her get what she wants. It seems that Michael Rose has prepared her well.
Then, while on tour, Cecelia returns to the Michael Rose Vocal Academy to perform a recital and Master Class.
At the end of the recital Cecelia runs into Michael backstage and they are glad to see each other. Naturally, she is excited to speak of her own success and victories but as they walk around the old stage, Cecelia is reminded of Jacob and asks Michael about him.
Slowly, Michael explains what happened after Cecelia left all those years ago. Jacob became reclusive and stayed in the studio for weeks at a time. Then, one day, Michael went to the studio and found Jacob dead. He had hung himself with a long red scarf.
When Michael remembered that the red scarf belonged to Cecelia he realized that Jacob must have been in love with her. At first Michael blamed Cecelia for breaking Jacob’s heart but then he realizes that she was only doing what Michael told her to do. Jacob was her first victim.
Cecelia collapses at this tragic news and Michael tries to console her. They are both to blame. They both think only of themselves and their careers. Jacob, on the other hand, had the real talent. He had the ability love. Both Michael and Cecelia feel that they are responsible for Jacob’s death and they realize that they must change their lives and think of others. Jacob has become their savior. They vow to move forward, as a team, and do good things and care for others.
If you would like to attend the premiere performance of “Sweeter Than Roses”, please leave a reply/comment (below) with your name, email address, number of seats to reserve and if you would prefer Friday, March 22 or Saturday, March 23.
All performances begin at 8 pm and the show runs a little over an hour.
Tickets are $15 cash at the door and the theater is general seating. The production will be at The Lab at Convergence at 1819 Quaker Lane, Alexandria, Va.
Cast includes Elizabeth Winn, soprano, Michael Schlesinger, tenor, Jacob Wittenauer, mute, Daniel Daugherty-Weiss, baroque cello, and myself at the concert harp.