Twelfth Night (2001)
for accordion, mandolin doubling on violin, and guitar
by William Shakespeare
Produced by the Dallas Theater Center, Spring 2001
Directed by Richard Hamburger
Original music and songs by John Mackey
Set design by Michael Yeargan
Costume design by Anna Oliver
Lighting design by Marcus Doshi
Read the review of Twelfth Night from the Dallas Morning News.
Commissioned by the Dallas Theater Center.
Opened February 28, 2001. Arts District Theater, Dallas, TX.
This was my first - and so far, only - experience writing music for a professional theater production. It was a fantastic experience, and I fear that I may have become a bit spoiled. The production had music played live every night by some great musicians from the Dallas area. The show also featured four songs with text by Shakespeare and music by me.
I admit to being rather nervous about accepting this project, as writing music to Shakespeare is a daunting task, and one that would aggrandize my inadequacies to a large audience night after night, but now I can't wait to do it again.
I must thank Jesse Lenat, who played the role of Feste the Clown and sang all of the songs. (Jesse, no newcomer to singing on stage, created roles in the original production of RENT and FLOYD COLLINS, among others.) My songs could have seemed overly-sweet with another singer, but Jesse gave them a beautiful edge and made them completely sincere. I couldn't have been happier with Jesse's performance and more grateful for his tremendously valuable input during the creation of the songs. He also played mandolin in two of the songs.
I also can't go without thanking the other wonderful musicians, Mary Medrick (accordion and music director), Gale Hess (violin and mandolin), and Jan Ryberg (guitar).