The Dolls of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera is a four act musical written by Paul Shapera which follows four generations of the McAlistair family in the fantastical city of New Albion.
The show features four singers two of whom switch roles every act as the male and female characters change with each successive generation. The female lead is sing by Lauren Osborn, the male lead by Jason Broderick and the Narrator, who is consistent throughout the show is sung by Kayleigh McKnight.
The 1st Act is concerned with a scientist, Annabelle McAlistair, and her attempt to bring back her dead love, placing him within the body of a mechanical mannequin. The 2nd Act follows her son Edgar, the 3rd Act his son Byron and the 4th Act Priscilla McAlistair.
Each generation's meddling with these Dolls contributes to the gradual fall of New Albion itself.
Act 1 begins with The Narrator telling a brief history of New Albion, a steampunked-victorian era town founded by a Gambler and a Monk who played a card game while a city was established around them. Fast forward to modern day and New Albion is filled with bustling streets and cafes, including a mafia run by a red-haired dwarf, zepplians pilots, alchemists, and aphrodisiac fog. However, the story is focusing us around the McAllister family (New Albion 1).
The story now begins with Annabel McAlistair, who is attempting to bring back the soul of her dead love Jasper, a boy whom she had fallen for back in school. While he has passed, her love for him hasn't. (Annabel Raises The Dead) After many desperate attempts, Annabel finally succeeds in resurrecting him and is happy with herself. While she is getting ready and leaves the home for the first time in a long while, the Narrator tries to get Annabel to listen to Jasper, who is pleading to Annabel through song (Annabel Has A Doll). Annabel finally hears and realizes that Jasper doesn't wish to remain alive. Saddened now, she destroys Jasper (Annabel's Lament) and returns to her life of solitude, hiding her notes on bringing back the dead and ending Act 1. (We Bid The 1st Generation Adieu)
Act 2 starts up a generation later. New Albion has changed somewhat, containing many new characters. The red-haired dwarf has died, his son becoming the new mob leader, and two girls and their pet albatross Simon and mouse Sam who run crimes around the city. However the story is still following the McAlistairs. Annabel finally married and had a son named Edgar, however she left him heartbroken when she died when he was ten. Edgar is grown up now and met Fay, whom he wishes to wed. (New Albion 2)
The story continues with Edgar alone at a restaurant, following Fay dumping him and leaving him alone, saying she has found somebody else and is moving on. Edgar is heartbroken again and returns home, and finds himself rummaging through a old trunk in the attic (Edgar Gets His Heart Broken). He finds many family relics, and finally stumbles upon his mother's notes on resurrecting the dead (The Old Trunk in the Attic). The next morning, Edgar tries out and succeeds the experiments. He proceeds to create a business out of bringing back people's loved ones. After several weeks and possibly months, Edgar is the top of his empire and now basically runs New Albion. He orders that the man Silof, who stole Fay from him, be destroyed. The Narrator tries to knock some sense into him, however he is obsessed now. (Edgar Builds A Business). Fay comes to him and Edgar reveals his master plan. He has brought back Fay's father and in order to see him, she must marry him. Fay is torn with hatred for Edgar and love for her dead father, so she chooses the latter and marries Edgar, ending Act 2. (Fay Considers Edgar's Proposal).
Act 3 once again takes place another generation later. New Albion has changed drastically. The town is filled with faceless dolls who broadcast the person in which died that was brought back. They fill up the slums and streets and homes. The doll in which Edgar has brought back for Fay is Jasper, who was Fay's father and Annabel's lover. Together, despite their loveless marriage, they produce a child, a son named Byron. Byron, who is a homosexual, has fallen in love with Jasper (not knowing he is his grandfather), and now is part of a underground subculture know as Voodoopunk. (New Albion 3)
The act begins with Byron singing with the other voodoopunkist (The Movement 1) while asking for Jasper to speak with him, similar to his grandmothers pleas. Amelia, Byron's best friend, is in love with him and wants him to notice her, however his attention is all on Jasper. Byron also attempts to rile the crowds of New Albion and covince the people to vote Jasper as mayor. Amelia continues to seek Byron's love (Voodoopunk, The Movement 2) however is unable to receive it. Now in front of the crowds, Jasper is able to finally communicate about how he feels and sings a song for everyone (Elysian Night). Following this, every doll begins to play the song, and soon Amelia, who is abused by her father, feels a deep compassion about the song and commits suicide (The Suicide). The next day, her suicide note is found with only the lyrics to Jasper's song on it. All of New Albion begins to fear that the dolls will kill them and they begin to rile up. It's Byron who finally fans the flames unknowingly and causes the riots to begin (The Bonfire of the Dolls). Byron runs to find Jasper and risks his life to pull him from the bonfire, ending Act 3.
Act 4 starts up now, this time with a flashback to early New Albion. Several hundreds of years before, a Monk and a Gambler embarked on a long journey to the North. After a heated debate about God, Chance, and Fate, they decided that the only way to settle it was through a card game. However the game seem to be endless and right before the Gambler won, his heart gave out and he died. He swore that somehow he and the Monk would be back and their game wasn't done. (The Ballad of The Gambler and The Monk)
Returning us to modern day, New Albion is now a cold and heartless martial place. Byron married and had a daughter named Priscilla, who lost Byron to the police and her mother to the mental hospital. In order to maintain peace across New Albion, armored cops patrol, searching for dolls and if found, execution is the punishment. Solider 7285 is a new solider recently added to the armored police patrols. Jasper is still around and now is hiding with Priscilla deep within the family house, residing their days playing a card game.
Priscilla and Jasper play cards, while Jasper mourns about his existence, claiming that he is only ok with it currently because he loves Priscilla like his daughter Fae. Priscilla grows angry that Jasper would wish to die and leave her behind in the cruel world in which they live in (Priscilla and Jasper Play Cards.) Priscilla reaches a break in their game and proceeds to contemplate about the situation in which they are in. She finally realizes that some must sacrifice for love and calls the police and confesses to her crime. (Prisiclla Contemplates) Jasper hears this and pleads with her to run and live her life (The Day They Come) however she wishes to stay. Solider 7285 and his squad arrive at the home and burst in, arrest them and sentencing them to death. Priscilla tells Jasper that she be with him once more in the afterlife and dies protecting him, causing Solider 7285 to not fire. However the rest of the squad fires and kills them and Soldier 7285 is charged with capitol crimes. He swears that he'll bring down the martial law (I Will Bring You Down) and proceeds the leave, ending Act 4.
The Narrator then closes up (We Bid You All Adieu) and talks about the revolution that is to rise that is a story for another time, ending the opera and the history tale. The revolution is detailed in the sequel Dieselpunk opera, The New Albion Radio Hour.
- The cast album was recorded in London, UK in April 2012. It can be listened to online at The Dolls of New Albion.
- The cover art is titled Timethief, by Witchling-Ashara at Deviantart.
- The full show can be watched here.