Composer Notes on Romeo and Juliet the musical

Conrad-2013-headshot2

When META asked me to write a musical based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet my first order of business was to find the traditional musical version set to the bard’s original words as a starting point. I was shocked, and am still shocked, to find that there is none. In over 400 years no one has created an enduring musical theater version using only Shakespeare’s original text.

As I did my personal cold reading of Shakespeare’s original text I was also shocked to find that the language did not seem distant to me. It did not feel like language of a dead era. It felt very contemporary, accessible and vibrant. For my taste, there was no need to “update” Shakespeare’s original work. The epic task at hand, a game of sorts, was to keep the original era from the Romeo and Juliet world premiere around 1597 and to set it to music using only Shakespeare’s original text.

Continue reading

RJ musical: About the Composer

Conrad-2013-headshot2

Romeo and Juliet is Conrad Askland’s third full length musical. The first was Witches! the musical (2012- TAG), a story of the Salem witch trials, and the second was PAN the musical (2013 – META), a new musical of the Peter Pan story.

In January 2015 he was featured in the Oxford University Press textbook Music Direction for the Stage by Joseph Church and Disney lyricist Alan Menken. During 2014 he was music director and keyboardist for Rock of Ages out of New York with NCL International and from 2008-2012 he lived in Macau, China as music director and keyboardist performing over 1200 shows with the Cirque Du Soleil resident show ZAIA at the Venetian Macau.

Continue reading

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet vs. Askland’s Romeo and Juliet the musical

rj_oscars

Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet versus C.L. Askland’s RJ musical

THE FACTS

What are the number of lines that are different from Shakespeare’s original text? Three Words (That’s correct: Three WORDS only) – Two words out of current common use were updated to common modern words, and a third word added to a sentence for clarity.

Continue reading

RJ Public Composer presentations Sat. January 24, 2015

Anacortes_RJ_promo

 

Free public presentations on the music of Romeo and Juliet the musical by composer Conrad Askland. The composer will discuss the composition process and explanation of the creation process for this world premiere that runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 15, 2015 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA.

Mount Vernon Public Library
Mount Vernon, WA
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7pm

Anacortes Public Library
Anacortes, WA
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7pm

ENNW Jan 2015 Cover Story on Romeo and Juliet the musical

ENNW-Jan-2015_RJ-Cover

Entertainment News Northwest (ENNW) January 2015 cover story on Romeo and Juliet the musical. Read the full article at http://issuu.com/ennw/docs/ennw-january_2015

Continue reading

Guitar Sound Design for RJ 2015

IMG_3142

Guitar is an essential element in the orchestration for Conrad Askland’s Romeo and Juliet the musical. Here is information on the sound design for the guitar parts developed by guitarist Jeff Bradley and composer Conrad Askland for the 2015 premiere run. (We will add more detailed information and audio samples as we go along)

Continue reading

RJ Rehearsal Photos – December 2014

Rehearsal photos December 2014 for premiere of Romeo and Juliet the musical.

IMG_6557

Continue reading

RJ 2015 Rehearsal Photos – November 2014

Rehearsal photos from November 2014 for Romeo and Juliet the musical.

romeo-juliet-palm-to-palm

Continue reading

Keyboard 2 Patch Setups for Askland’s RJ musical

RJ-mainstage-screenshot-1114

Here are the Keyboard 2 patch setups for Conrad Askland’s Romeo and Juliet the musical. I’ve spent a lot of time with complex splits and effects busses and after much experimenting with score and players in live rehearsals, finally settled on simple patches with no effects.

Continue reading

Shakespeare Memes

A collection of Shakespeare related memes and joke graphics. Join us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/romeojulietmusical

roflcopter romeo-juliet-twilight

Continue reading