Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival Goes Indie-Rock for 12th Night

12th Night Santa Clarita Shakespeare

If music be the food of love, Rock on! That’s the motto of Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival’s production of 12th Night – A Rock Musical, opening this weekend. This all new interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies takes Shakespeare’s text and sets it to original music in an indie rock concept by composer Jay Africa. Arrangements and musical direction are by Justin Horwitz and Erin McBride Africa directs.

“Putting Shakespeare’s words to music first seemed like a formidable challenge,” says Jay Africa, “But as I dove into his words, I discovered that much of the play already lent itself to being set to music. Lines restructured themselves into verses, rhymes revealed themselves in unexpected places, and rhythms marched out of the dialogue as if on their own.”

The play is set in Olivia’s Orchard, a fictitious bar, while a live 4-piece rock band (Duke Orsino and Thunderlove) plays on stage. The actors join in open mic night fashion, while pursuing their loves.

“Ultimately, it is about connecting with an audience,” says David Stears, the company’s Executive Director. “And this is a great way to bring a modern sensibility to the text and story. Shakespeare’s lyric text is a perfect for modern singer/songwriter/indie music style. Most of these songs can be on the radio tomorrow.”

12th Night – A Rock Musical
July 18 – August 16, 2015 (7:30 pm)
Rivendale Park in Towsley Canyon

Shakespeare in the Park is part of the LA SummerFEST, an eclectic summer cultural festival in Santa Clarita. All performances are free (donations suggested). Bring a chair or a blanket, the family, and a picnic and enjoy a beautiful evening under the stars. For more information about the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, visit


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  1. Trackback: Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival Goes Indie-Rock for 12th Night | The Shakespeare Standard

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