Monday, July 31, 2017


THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL is a big story with a big team putting it together for  a rousing performance of what might well be the most live-ly  show of this year’s NY Musicale Festival.

If they had headlines in the ninth century, this would have been the  trial of the century story.  But they didn’t, and all we have is some snippets recorded in Wiki (which they didn’t have then either) as to what was the real story of these events of  897 A.D.

 Pope Stephen VII dug up the rotting corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus for a trial.  

The Roman clergy along with aristocracy of the Holy Roman Empire attended and after all these years (over a thousand plus) we still don’t know why Stephen ranted and raged at the rotting body, had  it dismembered and thrown in the Tiber River, where of course it preceded to wash up and perform miracles.

Until now, that is.  

Through the miracle of punk and pop the pope story emerges along with ecclesiastical rhythms of another time to tell what no body knows but which  Robbie Florian with book, music and lyrics has created  a likely story in THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL. 

David Larsen  sings and screams as Pope Stephen VII.  He also
displays  perfect silence  with timing at a dramatic moment —all of which shows his emotional range as an actor as well as his enormous energy and powerful voice for this lead role.

Forest VanDyke with his smooth seducing voice  is Pope Formosus.  Don’t ask how this is possible since he is the dead pope on trial—you have to bring a lot of faith to a musicale just like you do to church. 

Ethan Gabriel Riordan is the Teen Deacon who is chosen to
defend Pope Formosus, a formidable assignment for a deacon performed  by a singer with a formidable talent.

Kudos to directors Ryan Emmons for the large team that put this spectacle together.

The ensemble is energetic, singing and dancing with super choreography by Gina Duci  with orchestration and  musical team under  Dan Garmon’s  direction 

Adding to the belief of the unbelievable that is the magic illusion of place  are the scenic design by Nate Bertone,  lighting by Ryan Hauenstein,  sound by Matt Otto, projection design by Kevan Loney, and video and media design by .

Daryl A. Stone’s Costume Designs were most appropriate for being both popular and pope-y.

And who will ever forget Puppet designer Marte Johanne Ekhougen’s freak-a-listic cadaver of Pope Formoso!