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Sophie Blanchard's High-Flyin' Rock'n'Roll Extravaganza logo


Sophie Blanchard’s Rock’n'Roll Extravaganza is a nerdy history rock concert with slides about the daredevil life and pyrotechnic death (spoilers) of the first professional female air balloonist designed to be performed by an all-woman/GNB rock band!

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Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Sophie Blanchard lived in France from 1778 to 1819.  I read many biographies about her and they all started roughly the same way “she was born…she got married.” Nothing in between.  I thought, well, there’s a song. So I set about chronicling her early years by detailing her husband's Jean-Pierre’s accomplishments at the same time. A lot of the text used in the show is contemporary poetry, much of which was written specifically about the Blanchards (mostly Jean-Pierre). Actually, Jean-Pierre wrote a lot, but I could not find many words of Sophie’s.


The story of her adult life, further, seemed almost legendary in a sense and not real. After digging around though, I found the bulk of what seems to be known about her seems to stem from a dinner with a Dutch poet who she tormented in a stagecoach to Paris, for as comfortable as she was in the air, she hated land travel and let it be known. Later, he saw her fly, was astonished to find out it was the same awful woman from the stage coach, wrote her a poem, invited her to dinner where she poured out her life story to him. The next day she died when her fireworks display set her rig aflame. Now one man’s recollection of his meeting her is her history. I wanted to explore the objectiveness of history, most especially women’s history. And I wanted it to rock.

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So Where Can I See It?


Sophie was selected as one of two musicals for a yearlong development opportunity with Moxie Arts NYC's 2023-2024 Incubator Cohort which pairs two musicals with two directors and two line producers. The Incubator kicked off on December 6th, 2023 with a concert at the Green Room 42. And will continue with a reading in March and a showcase code production in August. 

Sophie in Action!

Sophie Blanchard's High-Flyin' Rock'n'Roll Extravaganza

Sophie Blanchard's High-Flyin' Rock'n'Roll Extravaganza

Watch Now

On December 6th, 2023, four numbers from Sophie were presented as part of the Moxie Arts NYC Incubator Kickoff Concert at the Green Room 42. The cast included me as Sophie and on accordion and bass, Jenna Rubaii (Mary in the Jesus Christ Superstar national tour, Groundhog Day on Broadway) as Jean Pierre, Laura Dadap (The Lobbyists, hot sauce enterpreneur) as the Poet, and Lisa Helmi Johanson (POTUS on Broadway) as the Parachuting Dog. Anessa Marie is on piano and MDed the event, Will Shishmanian is on guitar, and Kasey Blezinger is on drums. The evening also featured selections from Under the Sheet by Alexis Elisa Macedo and Lour Yasin.

This is first 15 minutes of the show performed over Zoom during the 2020 pandemic with everyone utilizing what technology they had on hand,  presented as a part of the Asolo Repertory Theatre's Making Musicals series.  We had been scheduled to perform a full reading at the theatre in April before the pandemic hit, so I'm so insanely grateful to have gotten to realize this small portion of the show and to have worked with this insane cast. The cast includes Laura Dadap as the Balladeer and on cello (the Lobbyists, hot sauce entrepreneur),  Angel Lin as Jean-Pierre and on guitar and mandolin (Once national tour, Cinderella at the Papermill), Vasthy Mompoint as the Poet and on guitar (The Prom, and Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway),  Jessie Shelton as Izzit and on violin (Hadestown on Broadway, Waitress national tour), and , you know, me as Sophie and on bass, piano, and accordion.


The presentation is directed by Celine Rosenthal; stage managed by Devon Muko; and video edited by Trevor ForryNeal Rosenthal can also be heard on guitar.

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