The Songs

Hail the Happy Couple

The curtain opens on a church in 10th-century Saxony. Villagers and servants are celebrating the wedding of Lord Ludolph and Lady Rosmunda.

Lower the Drawbridge, part 1

Rosmunda and Ludolph have a heated argument about a play that she wrote in secret. The argument turns violent, and Ludolph lies unconscious. Rosmunda flees. As she contemplates her next move, we get our first glimpse of the nuns in Gandersheim Abbey.

Lower the Drawbridge, part 2

Back in the German countryside, Rosmunda still searches for direction. She gets it in the form of the abbey bells, ringing in the distance.

In The Abbey

Gandersheim Abbey is an independent territory within the Holy Roman Empire. It’s run by Mother Abbess Gerberga, the emperor’s niece. The nuns in the abbey convent are grateful to be in this protected environment.


Rosmunda has completed her perilous journey. But a woman who has left her husband can’t be admitted to the convent. So Rosmunda pretends to be “Roswitha,” a former courtesan who wants to atone for her sins. Mother Prioress Rikkarda, the second-in-command, sends her off to solitary confinement to repent.

Ave Maris Stella/Mystery

The nuns file in for breakfast.  Roswitha’s past has been kept secret from them. They know only her name and her incessant requests for paper and ink.


Gerberga has returned to Gandersheim and released Roswitha from the cell. Roswitha takes her vows and becomes a nun.

In the Name of Christ

Roswitha meets Irena, a teenage nun who came to the abbey against her will. Irena describes her distaste for life in the convent.

This Too Shall Pass

Gerberga and most of the nuns are excited by Roswitha’s presence. But not the older, ultra-conservative  Rikkarda. She sees no need to change.


Otto, the Holy Roman Emperor, is on his way to Germany. He is besieged by letters from his family about Gandersheim.

Leave It To Me

Hoping to help Roswitha, Gerberga brings in Father Urban — an expert in religious drama. He turns out to be a most unwilling accomplice.

Vows (Reprise)

Gerberga tells the nuns that Otto may have plans to close their convent. The nuns vow to fight to keep it open.

Hear the Bells Chime

The convent’s residents consider their situation as the abbey bells mark the passage of time.

The Joust

Roswitha is discouraged by Urban’s dismissal of her and by his plans to take over her project. Gerberga knows a thing or two about dealing with men of his kind, and she gives Roswitha a pep talk.

Leave It To Me (Reprise)

Emboldened by Gerberga’s encouragement, Roswitha goes back to Urban with a new plan.

Relations (Reprise)

Otto learns that he owes a debt to one of his lords in Germany. He plans to pay off the debt with Gandersheim Abbey.

Behind the Curtain

Urban agrees to work on a play with Roswitha. They find joy in the creative process, and as their show develops, so do some unanticipated feelings.

In the Name of Christ (Reprise)

The sudden death of one of the nuns gives Irena a new perspective on the value of faith and makes her worried about her own fate in the afterlife.

Hear the Bells Chime (Reprise)

At the funeral, Urban and Irena vie for Roswitha’s attention.

Cast Off Your Burden

Gerberga and Roswitha see that Irena is distraught. They implore her to be open and honest. Irena makes a stunning disclosure.

Living a Lie

Irena has found comfort in hearing Roswitha’s story of redemption from sin. But this story was false. Roswitha has a crisis of conscience.

Home/Stories (Reprise)

In a desperate attempt to save the abbey and face the truth, Roswitha reveals that she is in fact Lady Rosmunda. She has a plan to offer her father’s land to pay Otto’s debt. Otto comes up with a better plan and gives Roswitha a chance to determine her own fate. She makes her decision.

Below you’ll find earlier recordings of some of the songs.

Hail the Happy Couple

Lower the Drawbridge (part 1)

Lower the Drawbridge (part 2)

In the Abbey



In the Name of Christ

This Too Shall Pass

Leave it to Me

The Joust

Leave it to Me (reprise)

Behind the Curtain

What happens next?

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