A stern professor teaches a robotic lesson in painting. Pablo rebels and is expelled from school. He informs his father that he changing his name and moving to Paris. There, among many others who function later in our story, he meets Fernande Olivier who gives him a tour of the city.

Having settled in town, Pablo sketches in a park. His renderings instruct him on how they’d like to look. Luc Du Lac, a corrupt rival, arrives and offers to arrange an exhibition for Pablo. To Du Lac’s delight (and because of his deliberate sabotage), the exhibition is a failure. Max Jacob enters and is overwhelmed by Pablo’s work.

Max sings to Pablo of his own indispensability. Pablo’s landlord threatens him with eviction. Max creates a ruse, which sends the price of one of Pablo’s paintings skyward, enabling him to move into the Bateau Lavoir, a rooming house for impoverished artists. Fernande is one of his neighbors. Pablo learns that she is unavailable, but falls in love with her. Then, arranged by Du Lac, Pablo is arrested and dragged off-stage. Stage-wide chaos ensues.



Pablo’s studio a social hub. His friends sing of their own artistic procrastination. Du Lac witnesses the jovial proceedings with disdain. He hatches a plan to control Pablo by employing him. Pablo learns that Fernande has been abused by her lover, Sebastian. Pablo confesses his love for her and they move in together and live in destitution.

Pablo goes to Du Lac’s office where he is offered a job doing cartoons. Pablo declines, storms out and his verbally assaulted by his own sketches. He sings Heavenward in anguish about why he was given gifts if they seem destined to not be noticed. Max goes to Pablo’s studio and tells Fernande he feels ignored. They sing of their mutual value in his life. Pablo arrives and receives an invitation to the home of Gertrude Stein. The 3 attend.

Upon entering, Pablo is whisked away by Gertrude to meet the glamorous guests. Max collects gossip. Fernande attracts the attention of a rich American. Max tells Pablo the many truths about Du Lac. Pablo sees Fernande with Andrew Green and creates a scene and, humiliated Fernande runs out of the salon. Pablo is consumed with remorse. Max lightens the moment and escorts Pablo to his exhibition at The Galerie Vollard. The exhibition is a success. All of Pablo’s paintings sell at lavish prices.

His sketches, now in vogue, are all delighted to be “Picassos.” In memory, Pablo’s father returns to confront his son about the meaning and hypocrisy of “success.” Finally, Pablo says good-bye to everyone and boldly walks in the direction of the century he is destined to conquer as… the curtain falls.

Character Breakdown

  • PABLO PICASSO (Played from ages 18-23) – Powerful Lyric Tenor Though not yet the most prolific and important painter of his time, our protagonist is already the conflicted microcosm of all he will become: ambitious, yet respectful of his beginnings. Loving, yet quick to anger. His emotional “palette” is as volatile and varied as anything he uses to paint.
  • MAX JACOB (Mid-to-late 20’s) – Soaring, High Baritone Max is the quintessential “dandy”…when the word was more used as a noun. Sophisticated, grand, verbose and homosexual, Max conjures up memories of Oscar Wilde. He is the guiding hand behind Pablo’s early progress as a painter in Paris. His love for him is deep and abiding.
  • FERNANDE OLIVIER (Early-20’s) – Lyric Soprano Fernande is the embodiment of inner and outer loveliness and is Pablo’s first mistress in Paris. She knows there is a better life waiting for her and, in Pablo, she believes she has found it. Her spirit is indomitable.
  • LUC DU LAC (40’s) – Tenor (An irritating, nasal quality) Commercially successful and morally bankrupt, Du Lac is Pablo’s chief artistic rival in Paris and our story’s antagonist.
  • JOSE RUIZ BLASCO (Late-40’s) – Warm Baritone Pablo’s father. He is both proud and jealous of his son’s gift.
  • GUILLAUME APPOLONAIRE (20’s) - Baritone or Tenor (As per MD) A burgeoning poet. Close friend of Max’s.
  • ANDRE SALMON (20’s) – Baritone or Tenor (As per MD) A budding philosopher who is another part of Max Jacob’s inner-circle.
  • SEBASTIEN (20’s, physically imposing) – Non-singing role (or Chorus) He is Fernande’s abusive lover.
  • PHILLIPE (30’s) Pablo’s landlord. - Any range. He is easily intimidated.
  • JACQUES GRAVILLIER (40’s) – Baritone The manager of the Bateau Lavoir and a wanna-be painter: warm, jolly and accommodating.

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