Twelfth Night - New York Shakespeare Festival (Esparza, Hathaway, McDonald)
Composer: Messe, Dan
Lyricist: Shakespeare, William
2009 album from one of the most distinctive and emotionally rewarding bands in American music. This summer, Hem joined forces with The Public Theater's Shakespeare In The Park (one of NYC's most celebrated annual offerings) to compose the score for their production of Twelfth Night. The production was directed by Daniel Sullivan, and starred Anne Hathaway, Audra McDonald, Raul Esparza, Jon Patrick Walker, and David Pittu, along with a host of other actors and musicians. The songs on the album, Twelfth Night, are more lush and clear than possible in an outdoor theater, and also included are bonus songs not in the show. These additional tracks are thematically relevant to the Twelfth Night characters but have roots in other Shakespearean plays. In particular, the song 'Where Is Fancy Bred?' (from The Merchant of Venice) sung by Orsino (Ra£l Esparza) is spectacular, with a melody and orchestration that creates a goosebump extravaganza that made jaws drop each time the song rang through the studio.
Shakespeare in the Park's acclaimed production of Twelfth Night, featuring a score by Brooklyn-based folk band Hem, arrives on disc Oct. 27.
The 28-track recording captures principal cast members including Academy Award-nominated actress Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"), four-time Tony nominee Raśl Esparza (Company, Speed-the-Plow), four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald (110 in the Shade, Master Class, Ragtime), two-time Tony nominee David Pittu (What's That Smell, Lovemusik) and Jon Patrick Walker (Young Frankenstein). Bonus material, including instrumental and vocal passages cut from the production, will also be featured on the disc.
Shakespeare's tale of unrequited love, hidden identity and midsummer madness played a critically praised run at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in early June. Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan, the production was the first of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park offerings of 2009.
Sullivan's production of Twelfth Night incorporated Hem's score into the action of the play by featuring an onstage band (The Illyrian Marching Band) led by Hem band member Steve Curtis, as well as recorded tracks featuring the Gowanus Radio Orchestra. Hem band members include Dan Messe (piano), Steve Curtis (guitar, harmony vocal, percussion), Gary Maurer (mandolin, guitar), Sally Ellyson (vocals), Mark Brotte