It is, however, the magnificent love story between a nun and Pope, against the background of the turbulent war years, which is the focus of this powerful and moving musical. Lapopessa, which means female Pope in Italian, is the story that the Catholic Church has always denied. Pascalina has never officially existed as a force that changed history, but she is written of and alluded to in several books.
Lapopessa is an exciting musical that spans over four decades. It is the classic love story of the strong woman behind the man. And it is one of the most unique love stories of our time. It is a musical filled with joy, sorrow, humor, excitement, and drama. You will laugh; you will cheer; and you will cry. It is a tremendously moving musical theater experience. Most importantly, Lapopessa is the story of a truly liberated woman who (long before it was acceptable) made a conscious decision as how to live her life. And her choice was to walk in the shadow of a man whom she was determined to see become Pope. It is the epic musical of an unlikely love story, set amid the backdrop of the most tumultous of times.
Lapopessa is the incredible story of the "secret" love relationship between a nun, Sister Pascalina, and a priest, Eugenio Pacelli, who was to become Pope Pius XII. Sister Pascalina, regarded as the most powerful woman in the history of the Vatican, secretly lived in the private Papal apartment with the Pope for 20 years defending and protecting Pius while standing up to the male hierarchy. She functioned, in many ways, as the Pope and was responsible for many of the main decisions made during his papacy. She was directly involved in negotiations with Hitler and Mussolini and met with them both as she helped change the course of history. Sister Pascalina formed the Pontifical Relief Committee which issued false Christian identification papers to about a million Jews and tunneled them to freedom through the Vatican. She oversaw the melting of ancient Vatican gold treasures to pay Nazis ransom to save Jews throughout Europe. All this was being secretly accomplished as Pius XII was publicly being condemned by the world as "the Silent Pope" for not speaking against the atrocities. But behind the scenes, the committed effort to save lives was a major accomplishment that will only now be known.