A Song for Harmonica


a children’s introduction to opera
book by Simon Johnston & Patrice Michaels
original music by Patrice Michaels

Two musician-actors, a fanciful stage setting and myriad costume and stage effects combine to charm and intrigue elementary-aged children and their adults. Harmonica, a 4 foot tall puppet, assists the cranky composer Maestro in his journey through history. Many children are invited to participate onstage, and everyone has a chance to sing along to the original music which frames an exploration of Opera and The Nature Of Inspiration.

  • Music/theater for elementary-age children

  • 45 minute stage performance

  • 1 singer/actress/puppeteer and 1 pianist/actor

  • Set, props and piano (if necessary) self-contained

  • Audience members sing and assist onstage

  • Available with residencies in music history, composition or performance


Harmonica, Spirit First Class, wants to get her wings and become a Real Guardian Angel. She is assigned (by The Big Boss, whose directives arrive by parachute) to help Maestro, Director of the Celestial Opera Company. Maestro has lost his inspiration, and can no longer conduct nor compose. Together, Maestro and Harmonica visit the significant figures from opera history that The Big Boss has listed for them. The music of Handel, Mozart, Puccini and Offenbach all fail to inspire Maestro. He takes his frustration out on Harmonica, and banishes her from his sight. When he realizes his own selfishness will keep her from achieving her goal, and that, in spite of it, she still believes in him, he is truly moved. He is finally able to express himself through music, and composes his own song, "You Can Be Special". The 45 minute show requires a female singer/puppeteer and a male pianist/actor. Students sing along from the audience for the recurring theme song "There's an Angel Beside You," and are invited to assist on stage in roles such as curtain puller, mechanical-doll-winder-upper, girl caught in a bird catcher's net and naval captain beloved by a Japanese woman.