Listen Now!
Performed by Katie Kring
One fall Saturday in 1660, Hester Prynne walks through Boston wearing her a scarlet ‘A’ on her bodice and leading her 12 year-old daughter Pearl with her. The Puritan townspeople notice Hester and self-righteously describe the Biblical “good wife,” which she clearly isn’t. Pearl wonders why everyone is looking at them. (Opening)
Pearl and Hester encounter the Reverend Dimmesdale and Pearl asks Dimmesdale about the origin of her mother’s ‘A’. Hester, eager to avoid that conversation, sends Pearl to the blacksmith. (Metal)
She Started It
Performed by Nili Bassman
Bellingham sees Hester and makes lecherous comments about her to Dimmesdale, who defends her honor. Bellingham mentions to Dimmesdale that Hester can legally be married in a moth, as her husband will have been missing for 14 years. A mysterious stranger who calls himself Roger Chillingworth comes to town and witnesses Pearl beating another young girl with the ladle she just purchased, causing a near riot until Dimmesdale intervenes, commanding the people to treat Pear as if she were his own daughter. (If You Know What I Mean)
As Hester attempts to send Pearl home, Pearl blames the other girl for the fight and badgers Hester to explain her past. Hester refuses, angering Pearl, who declares she won’t stay in the dark forever. (She Started It)
Performed by Nili Bassman
Pearl goes home, while Hester heads into the forest to collect herbs. The women of town ogle Chillingworth as Hester takes Pearl home. (If You Know What I Mean B)
Chillingworth meets Bellingham and inquires about Hester’s marital status and Pearl’s parentage. He infers the identity of Hester’s father, but keeps his suspicions to himself.
Back at Hester’s cottage, a very angry Pearl lashes out, building a raging fire in the fireplace and nearly burning the cottage down. (Spark)
Tell Me
Performed by Wayne Schroder and Sari Rose Poll
Chillingworth, who has come to see Hester, interrupts Pearl as she nearly burns down the cottage and intimates that he has information about Hester’s past that Pearl desperately wants. Pearl tries to extract this information from him and he tells her to meet him in the forest at midnight if she really wants to know. (Tell Me)
Performed by Catherine Porter
Hester returns and is shocked to find her not-so-late husband in her home with her daughter. He tries to seduce her and failing that, threatens to force her to return to him as his wife and lose her freedom if she does not reveal the identity of Pearl’s father. Hester is not swayed and ejects Chillingworth from her house. As she resolves to leave town and escape his reach, Hester wrestles with her reawakened attraction to him. (Irresistible)
Performed by Joe Cassidy and Catherine Porter
Upon learning that Hester intends to leave town with Pearl, Dimmesdale tries to persuade her to stay and to marry him. (Pancakes)
A Man Like You
Performed by Joe Cassidy and Wayne Schroder
As Dimmesdale leaves Hester’s cottage, Chillingworth intercepts him and reveals that he knows that Dimmesdale is Pearl’s father and threatens to ruin him by publicizing this knowledge. (A Man Like You)
Tell Me (reprise)
Performed by Sari Rose Poll
Back inside, Hester tucks Pearl in for one last night in their cottage, and Pearl makes a final attempt to learn the answers about her mother’s mysterious past. When this fails, Pearl sneaks out the window to meet Chillingworth in the forest. (Tell Me (reprise))
Sisters of the Belladonna
Performed by Nili Bassman, Sari Rose Poll, Cristin J. Hubbard, Diane Houghton, and Mark Whitten.
There in the woods, Pearl encounters a group of witches who are about to sacrifice her when Chillingworth arrives and suggests they use her to scry in their witchglass, which requires her blood to function. It also binds her to eternal silence and inaction regarding what she sees there. Furthermore, Chillingworth demands that he be permitted to travel with her in her visions as her guardian. Desperate for the truth, Pearl agrees and asks the glass to show her how her mother got her ‘A’. (Sisters of the Belladonna)
End of Act I
Performed by Sari Rose Poll, Jennifer Harvey, J. Oconer Navarro, Luke Longacre and Katie Kring
Traveling through the witchglass, Pearl and Chillingworth are suddenly 12 years in the past, in the midst of a huge celebration. Pearl believes that her mother has done something fabulous to merit such a celebration. (Blessed)
Performed by Emily Drennan
Pearl is shocked when the people start to jeer and mock her mother. As Pearl looks on, Hester is publicly shamed for her adultery. Her punishment is to stand before the people and endure their ridicule, then to wear the scarlet ‘A’ on her bodice for the rest of her life. Despite the shaming, Hester defiantly declares that she’s more than a letter. (A)
Before Today
Performed by Nili Bassman
As Hester endures ridicule, Pearl wonders if her mother was ever like her and concludes that her birth ruined her mother’s life. (Before Today)
Supposed to Be
Performed by Nili Bassman
Chillingworth comforts Pearl and she begins to suspect that he might be her father. Pearl asks the witchglass to ask her mother who her father is, and Bellingham and Dimmesdale interrogate Hester. Dimmesdale exhorts her to free her fellow sinner by naming him. Pearl forgets that the ghosts of the past cannot see her and joins in the calls to name her father. Hester, despite Dimmesdale’s please, is unmoved. (Who Is The Father)
Disturbed by the sight of her mother being shamed, Pearl asks to see her mother and father together at a time when they were happy. Pearl and Chillingworth find themselves in the forest clearing where a younger Hester and a mysterious man enter for a romantic rendezvous. Pearl is thrilled by how happy her mother looks, while Chillingworth is unable to watch at all. Just before the cloaked man is revealed, Chillingworth drags Pearl back to the present. (You, Me, Love)
Chillingworth laments Hester’s treachery, and Pearl, who has completely misinterpreted the previous vision, explains to him that she has figured out that he, Chillingworth, is her father. He is unnerved by this and rushes off into the forest. Pearl takes the witchglass herself and demands that it show her father in the present, intending to see where Chillingworth has gone. (Aren’t You?)
To her surprise, the witchglass takes her to Dimmesdale. Pearl must come to herms with the fact that her father has been in plain sight her entire life, and that he is not her idealized father. (Supposed to Be)
Psalm 70
Performed by Joe Cassidy and Nili Bassman
Dimmesdale is praying that God would rescue him from Hester’s departure, Chillingworth’s revenge, and his own sins. Pearl joins his prayer and vows to go to him as he teeters on the edge of collapse. As she reaches out to him, she touches the witchglass with her bare hands, jerking her back to the forest. (Psalm 70)
Conspiracies and Mysteries
Performed by Nili Bassman, Sari Rose Poll, Diane Houghton, and Cristin J. Hubbard
The witches try to prevent Pearl from leaving, reminding her that if she acts on any of the things she has seen, she will break the glass, and if the glass breaks, she will die by noon of the next day. Pearl decides that she must go to her father, declares that she is not afraid of dying, shatters the witchglass, and sets off back to town to find Dimmesdale, carrying a shard of the witchglass with her. (Conspiracies and Mysteries)
The Warmest
Performed by Wayne Schroder
Chillingworth stops her as she heads toward town, and tells her that he is ready to be her father, but she refuses him, desperate to get to Dimmesdale. Chillingworth laments that he has caused the only child he ever cared for to come to harm. Hester, out searching for Pearl, finds him and tries to shake information about Pearl’s whereabouts and safety out of him. He finally relents and indicates that Pearl has gone back to town, unharmed for now but due to die by noon. Hester takes Chillingworth captive and they return to town. (The Warmest)
At Last
Performed by Nili Bassman and Joe Cassidy
In the center of town, Pearl finds Dimmesdale and greets him, to his surprise, as her father. She tells him about her experiences in the forest and that she is now doomed to die but that she’s glad to know he’s her father because she loves him. Taking the shard of the witchglass from her, he asks her to let him be her father, choosing to die in her place. She agrees and they celebrate that they have this moment together. (At Last)
Hester and Chillingworth join them. Dimmesdale kisses Hester and announces he has taken Pearl’s penalty upon himself. He threatens to have Chillingworth executed for witchcraft, then offeres him mercy and goes up onto the platform.
Confessing that he too is a sinner deserving to wear the letter ‘A’, Dimmesdale is joined by Pearl and Hester, and, finally free from his burdens, dies in their arms as the townspeople bless him. Hester heads home, offering to finally answer all of Pearl’s questions that night. Pearl offers Chillingworth forgiveness and he accepts. He leaves to begin his life as a free man. Left alone with Dimmesdale’s body, Pearl ties up her hair as a symbol of her transformation into a woman, then makes her way home, her journey completed. (Finale - Jubliee)
Below, you will find a selection of songs from Pearl, interspersed with the synopsis, for your listening enjoyment. Please bear in mind that the score includes a number of songs which are not represented here. The placement of these songs is noted by italicized titles.