Please note: this is an outline for the slimmed down workshop production of the musical: a four hander (three singer/actors and one actor) that can be performed at a small venue with a small band. However, Mrs Gucci is a scaleable musical, with potential for expansion with more characters, an orchestra and dancers. Below is the current snapshot of the core emotional heart of the story and staging. The songs are shown at various stages of development, a handful as demos with nearly finished lyrics, others are just sketches with provisional lyrics, or indeed just la-la or guitar melodies..
Scene One - Prison Cell
Lights up on three leads singing chorus "It's not my fault". Paolo Gucci and Pina Auriemma flank Patrizia Gucci - the Black Widow of Milan - dressed in her mourning robes. Maurizio Gucci walks on, shoeless, in white shirt and slacks, covered in blood, and describes the day of his assassination.
1. It's not my Fault - Maurizio with Pina, Patrizia and Paolo.
2. Jail Time Frame Underscore.
Maurizio exits, soon followed by Paolo, leaving the two women alone. In a dislocated slightly unhinged rant (taken verbatim from the court record and interviews) Patrizia turns to the audience and says:
PATRIZIA: Truth is the daughter of time, so I shall take time.... ...Did I love him?... Maurizio was my husband. I was, am and will always be in love with him…Unfortunately, he was not the man I wanted him to be. Truth is the daughter of time.. I shall take time.. The divorce settlement he offered wasn't worth a plate of lentils. Yes. I’d rather cry in a Rolls-Royce than be unhappy on a bicycle. Yes. .It was worth every lira to see him dead…. But he wasn't worth one lira more. Truth is the daughter of time.. I shall take time.. I shall take time.... I was, am and will always be..... in love with him. He was not the man I wanted him to be.
Pina challenges her: you weren't in love with Maurizio. You were in love with the money, with the fame, the Gucci name. Patrizia protests her devotion. She adored Maurizio and he adored her - so much that Maurizio gave up everything to marry her. His father wrote him out of the Gucci company. Out of his will. She didn't marry the name - she married the man. And they loved each other despite the family's disapproval of the marriage.
By way of proof she takes us back to...
Scene Two - Honeymoon Phase
3. La Vita Nuova (Maurizio and Patrizia)
The prison cell becomes the bridal bedroom for the newlyweds the day after their marriage in the Milan registry office. As Patrizia sleeps, Maurizio enters, shirtless, and sees his new bride in the dawn light. He's scared of his love for Patrizia. He can't believe the strength of his emotion. He's scared it's all a dream. So he wakes her up with a kiss, like sleeping beauty. Patrizia joins the song, in harmony. Towards the end of the song, they dance.
The dance stops and the song ends. Maurizio is left frozen, shirtless, lying on the bed as Patrizia steps back into her future of a prison cell. She tells Pina that this proves Maurizio loved her. But Pina winds her up. How do you know that? How can you be sure? Maurizio was so quiet and almost terminally shy (the character of Maurizio never speaks, only sings). How do you know what he was thinking?
4. Pina’s Theme Underscore - First half only.
Patrizia snaps back into the past, and berates the silent frozen figure of her dead husband: why did he never speak? Why was he so weak? Why did he never stand up for her in front of the family?
Patrizia's anger soon turns into another wild rant and Pina has to pull her back, and remind her hat Maurizio is dead, and she's in prison for his murder. She's the infamous Black Widow of Milan (the character of Pina never sings, only speaks).
But Patrizia can't accept the reality. She doesn't believe she killed the man she loved. She tries to look for other explanations for events, and then it hits her. It was Maurizio's family that killed him. It was the famous curse of the Guccis which destroyed her marriage. He left the family business. But then his cousin Paolo dragged him back in....
Scene Three - Dinner with the Borgias
The prison cell becomes a dining room. Paolo joins the trio and throws his cousin Maurizio a jacket and shirt.
It's a Gucci family dinner party, which Patrizia famously described as like 'having dinner with the Borgias'. Paolo - exuberant, witty, always the salesman - raises a toast to the couple, celebrating ten years of marriage. It's a fairytale romance. They're as famous as Ricard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Or Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy.
5. Hell for Leather (Paolo and Company)
It's a fairy tale marriage, but every fairy tale has its monster. The Gucci name is a brand. Paolo tells Patrizia: you took the name, you have to pay for it somehow. Patrizia looks concerned. Maurizio says nothing. Then Paolo drops his bombshell. He praises Maurizio's success at breaking away from his father, and wishes he could do the same. He bemoans the way the Gucci label has gone down-market in the 80s, and Paolo plans to start a label of his own. Indeed, he wants Maurizio to join him. Together they could form an alliance to oust their parents from the Gucci company and take it over.
But Maurizio makes it clear. He wants nothing to do with the family business. He rejects the offer; "You can't buy me. I am free."
6. I Love You More: (Maurizio & Patrizia)
Paolo leaves, disappointed. Maurizio has once again made the decision to put his wife over his family. But the twist is this; Patrizia actually wants him to get involved in the Gucci brand and get rid of his crass cousins and uncles.
Scene Four - Premonition Beach
Back to the frame of the prison cell. It's clear that Patrizia had ambitions of her own. She's not as innocent, not just the simple housewife and mother she makes herself out to be. Pina had seen this in her horoscope from the moment they met. She's under the sign of Saturn. She's a diva. A manipulator. Someone who wants to pull the strings.
By now, Patrizia has had enough of Pina's version of events. If it wasn't the Gucci family that killed the marriage, or Maurizio's lack of love, there is one key moment when things began to fall apart: when Pina entered her life.
PATRIZIA: Never let even a friendly wolf into the chicken coop. Sooner or later it will eat all the chickens.
Pina remembers the moment she met Patrizia on a beach in Sicily:
But then Maurizio arrives looking pale and shocked. Patrizia knows he's heard some devastating news, but he can't tell her. She assumes there's been some other falling out among the family. But it turns out to be more and less than that - Maurizio's estranged father has just died.
Scene Five - Buried Love
The Paolo arrives with a black tie and jacket for his cousin; the cast gather formally around the grave of Maurizio's father Rodolfo. The bereft son sings a passionate elegy to his absent father. .
8. Perfect World (Maurizio)
As Maurizio puts a flower on the grave he's clearly both grief stricken, and guilty for having broken from his father. Patrizia feels excluded by his grief, and the sudden return of family loyalty.
Pina declares - that was the moment it ended The marriage break-up had nothing to do with the psychic. Maurizio had been written back into his father's will at the last moment, so he was pulled back into the business. It was the curse of the Gucci family, the sibling rivalries, the toxic boardroom politics that ultimately estranged the marriage, and killed the marriage.
However, Paolo now speaks up. He has a completely different version of events. The marriage broke up because of Pina - the evil Sicilian Witch - who poisoned Patrizia's fragile mind with all kinds of mystic nonsense and toxic self-fulfilling prophesies.
PAOLO: You wanted your husband to be a man. But you forgot one thing. To be a man, he had to stand up to you.
Scene Six - Separation and Divorce
Maurizio and Patrizia try to embrace, but are pulled apart, respectively, by their two closest confidantes - Paolo and Pina. Finally something snaps - and Patrizia lets out again her mad rant about how she loved her husband, but he didn't deserve her love. Still dressed in mourning, Maurizio backs off - shocked. The last thread is broken. He wants a separation. That was the moment the marriage finally died.
Patrizia is left alone on stage to contemplate the ruin of her love, and her own complicity with it. Her premonitions have come true, because she made them come true. She realises she drove him away with her obsessive fear.
9. I Blame Time (Patrizia)
But Part One ends on a note of hope and triumph. Patrizia still thinks she has time to win back her husband's love .
Scene One - Unhappy Daze
Lights up on a yacht party where a cheesey crooner played by Paolo, gives us a resume of what has happened to Patrizia after ten years of separation from her husband. We see her as a butt of his jokes, trying to drunkenly dance, falling off her chair, manhandled by men. She's a tragic figure of forlorn love, unable to move on, and mortified by Maurizio's recent divorce settlement offer.
10. Mrs Gucci (Paolo)
At the end of the song, Patrizia falls off her chair again. This time she doesn't get up. Pina comes over, assuming that her acolyte is just drunk again. But there's something wrong. Patrizia is having an epileptic seizure. Pina calls the doctor. It's serious.
Scene Two - Operating Theatre
Patrizia is waiting to undergo surgery. A masked doctor (doubled by Maurizio) tells her that the seizures are caused by a life threatening brain tumour and they have to operate to save her life. He asks her about her next of kin. Though they are now divorced, Patrizia wants Maurizio to know how ill she is. He will always be her husband, despite the impending divorce, despite the paltry divorce settlement he's offered.. She gets Pina to promise to send a word to her ex husband. For all that's happened, she wants him to know she still loves him. Then she goes under ether and into surgery
11. Before I Die (Patrizia and Maurizio)
During the operation, Patrizia has a vision. The surgeon removes his mask. It's Maurizio. They dance to the finale of the music.
When Patrizia wakes up, she asks Pina if Maurizio came to check on her. Pina nods. Patrizia is desperate to know what he said. Pina is reluctant to tell her. But Patrizia drags it out of her.
PINA: Yes. Mauro did come.
PATRIZIA: But what did he say? What did he want? Why did he come here?
PINA: To see if you were dead
Scene Three - Convalescence
Mortified, a broken woman, Patrizia climbs into a wheelchair and is pushed around the stage by Pina. She's even more confused and obsessed with her ex. Sometimes she's convinced that Maurizio is dead, killed by rivals because of some vendetta in the Gucci family (he's selling the company at this point). But Pina says he's still alive, with a new partner and child. Maurizio isn't dead. He just wanted Patrizia dead.
Patrizia can't bear it. She feels she can only be free if her ex is gone. He's wasting his daughter's legacy. His business decisions are destroying the Gucci company. Patrizia starts asking everyone - members of the audience, even the musicians, how much it costs to kill someone, and whether they know someone who can do it.
Pina tries to stop her: she could be arrested for conspiracy. Instead of trying to kill Maurizio physically, they should get their revenge by writing a book: character assassination is at least legal. But trying to recall the past with Maurizio only makes Patrizia more incensed. She goes back to asking people if they know a hit man. Pina stops her. She's from Sicily: she knows some people. A pizza shop owner and a doorman. They have contact. It can be arranged for a few hundred thousand lire. Patrizia dismisses the idea. It's crazy. She doesn't want Maurizio dead. She wants to be dead. But she can't help asking.... How much?
Then an old man approaches. Patrizia can barely recognise him. But Pina does. It's Paolo. He's aged a lot. He's bankrupted after a second divorce, and there's a rumour that he has cancer. Paolo refuses to talk to Patrizia with Pina there. With some reluctance, the confidante and spiritual adviser goes.
13 Mountain Air (Paolo, Patrizia)
Paolo wants to know how Patrizia is. In song, he apologises for his role in her divorce and heartbreak. He's dying, but he tells her to leave the past behind, enjoy her life, and move on.
Patrizia is moved by Paolo's pleas, and despite her frail health echoes his song back to him. She is sad when he finally has to go. It seems like she might back off from this murderous obsession with her ex. Then Pina reappears to push Patrizia round and round the stage. It's clear she already has the money for the hit, and Patrizia is too emotionally disordered and confused to stop her.
Scene Four - The Hit
Patrizia is left in the centre of the stage. She's finally strong enough to get herself out of her wheelchair. She removes the head bandage from the operation, and her long black hair comes cascading down. She's putting her make up on when she sees Maurizioacross the stage (they only lived a couple of blocks away from each other in Milan at this point)
Maurizio is getting ready to leave his house and go to work in his white suit. It's years since they separated, but in Patrizia's mind, it's like yesterday: he's still thinking of her: she can't stop thinking about him.
Before she can catch his eye Maurizio heads out of his flat to work and into the gun of an assassin (doubled by Paolo): he is killed with three shots at point blank range.
Scene Five - Aftemath and Judgement
Lights up on Maurizio's body, shoeless, covered in blood after the assassination. Pina and Patrizia stare at the body, lost in recriminations, each blaming the other, protesting their innocence to the audience. We're back to the opening scene, with Patrizia now in her full 'Black Widow' regalia
15. It's All Your Fault - (Reprise) Pina, Patrizia.
At the end of the song, an offstage voice condemns Patrizia and Pina for conspiracy to murder, and sentences them to 25 and 26 years respectively in Milan's San Vittore prison. Patrizia still protests her innocence. She was blackmailed by Pina. She didn't know what she was doing. She was mentally unstable. But Pina has one last devastating shot:
PINA: C'mon, Patrizia. Drop the act. You're not mad. You're just in denial. And this whole charade.... it's a scam. To exonerate you. To get you freed on appeal on the grounds of mental instabilty. But you're not mad. You're just in denial. Or something worse. So drop the act. Everyone can see through it. .
Patrizia is stripped of accessories and jewellery, her black veil and shawl, and handed prison fatigues to wear.
Scene Six - San Vittore Prison Today
As she paces around her prison cell, Patrizia is still haunted by images of the past - the riches, the love, the lifestyle she has lost. She feels completely alone, yet hounded by the attentions of the crowd and the endless publicity of her case. She can't tell the difference between truth and lies anymore - is she mad? Is she pretending. The only thing she has to hold on to is her loss, and the loneliness of her impossible murderous love.
16. My Place (Patrizia)
17. My Place (Version Two Patrizia)