1995

Re: Shakespeare Songs and Musicals

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0122. Monday, 20 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   William Schmidt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 10:21:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare's Songs
 
(2)     From:   Louis Scheeder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 19 Feb 1995 18:42:38 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
 
(3)     From:   Larry Soller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 18:22:00 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
 
(4)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 22:20:35 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Rock *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Schmidt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 10:21:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare's Songs
 
There are a number of recordings of settings of Shakespeare's songs, mostly by
English composers in the 30's and 40's.  Many of these were issued as LPs, and
I'm uncertain about their availability on CD.
 
I am particularly fond of Gerald Finzi's "Let Us Garlands Bring" (issued on
Lyrita 93).  Also, Finzi did some incidental music to LLL, which is on CD
(Nimbus 5101).
 
There is also a collection, "Songs to Shakespeare" (Hyperion A66026) with music
by Eric Coates, Ivor Gurney and Peter Warlock, among others.
 
Finally, the Folger Theatre Group issued an LP several years ago, "The Music of
Shakespeare" with settings by William Penn.
 
                  Best,
                                Bill Schmidt
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Scheeder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 19 Feb 1995 18:42:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
 
Re: Michae' Martin's quest for music from Shakespeare - have a listen to *Such
Sweet Thunder*, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, composed and orechestrated by
Eillington and Billy Strayhorn.  It dates from 1957 and is dedicated to the
Shakespeare Festival, Stratofrd, Ontario.  Ellington working from Hamlet,
Othellor, Midsummer, etc. is pretty terrific. Columbia CD - COL 469140 2
 
Louis Scheeder
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Soller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 18:22:00 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0118 Re: Shakespeare Musicals
 
You might include Lorena McKennitt's(sp) versions with her remarkable voice.
 
lss
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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 22:20:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Rock *Hamlet*
 
Does anyone remember a rock *Hamlet* around 1970?  It played on Broadway and
was not a success.  I liked it because it was a serious attempt to interpret
the play, and some of its decisions were interesting. I don't remember much
about it though.
 
Yours, Bernice

Re: *Romeo and Juliet*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0121. Monday, 20 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 12:11:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(2)     From:   Elizabeth Nancy Olesh <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 13:41:20 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(3)     From:   Ron Moyer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 12:49:10 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(4)     From:   Gail  Lerner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 15:45:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(5)     From:   Bradley S. Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 14:49:00 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(6)     From:   David Collins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 17:01:36 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(7)     From:   Ronald Dwelle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        Date:   Sunday, 19 Feb 95 21:41:56 EST
        Subj:   R&J question
 
(8)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 19 Feb 1995 22:11:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 12:11:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
To Frank Savukinas:
 
I'm delighted to see this question turn up on SHAKSPER. If it has been
discussed before, I've missed it. I only wish I had your students. Mine never
ask it, although I hint at it in the hopes that they will raise the issue
before I have to. Unfortunately, I have to ask and invariably the nature of the
discussion and views of the play change dramatically. Suddenly Romeo's ardor is
not confined to Juliet and we are reminded that they are teenagers (with,
perhaps, fairy dust sprinkled on their eyes.) As great as their love is for
each other, their love of LOVE may be even greater. Once the question has been
asked, students take over with little need of my prodding and they are very
likely to end up in a thoughtful discussion about teenage suicide-- of the kind
involving dying for love. While this may seem to detract from the more
traditionally romantic views, it often comes full circle to the idea that the
innocence inherent in young love combined with youth's propensity to give
themselves over completely to their senses, make this 'brand ' of love so
compelling as to be worth everything else that has been said about it. In
short, I consider Roseline a crucial key to opening up the play. My compliments
to your class.
 
Nina Walker
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elizabeth Nancy Olesh <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 13:41:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Yes, I definitely think Romeo would have fallen in love with Juliet regardless
of any involvement with Rosalinde.  As has been said countless times, Romeo and
Juliet fall in love NOT out of choice, but because they are "star-crossed
lovers" (gag me). They fall in love to satisfy the requiremnets of the play.
 
I think this question points to some larger issues in the way we read
Shakespeare today -- people tend to get caught in this Romantic "cult of
personality" that sets discussion of character above all else.  But we have to
ask ourselves how people in the Renaissance would have understood these plays.
What signs were they looking for?  My understanding is that "character" was
subsumed under other issues, such as form, rhetoric, and ritual.  Think of
Richard III comparing himself to "the formal vice, Iniquity." RIII is looking
back to the earlier dramatic tradition while looking forward to a new kind of
play.  Or, you can examine the difference between Romeo's language in the early
parts of R+J (up until the secret wedding) and the later acts -- I see this as
a comedy that turns into a tragedy, in part because the wedding was private and
thus not sanctioned by society according to the standard Renaissance wedding
script.
 
Okay, okay.  I know this post is too long, and I know that the people in this
group have many exciting ways of looking at Shakespeare. Just thought I'd offer
a view that I haven't seen around this group in a while!
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Moyer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 12:49:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
The speculation regarding Romeo and Rosiline can be, as could be the case with
other change-one-circumstance speculations, an enjoyable exercise, but it
avoids the notion that such speculation simply refers to the reader and has no
reference to the playscript.  The words and implied actions of the characters
are finite (well, kinda finite--considering the vagaries of textual
transmission), and the play doesn't deal with Ros and Romeo getting together
but does deal with Juliet and Romeo's passion.  Extra- textual speculation can
be fun--witness the long list of Shakespearean spinoffs--and can stimulate many
sociological/philosophical discussions, but, since it cannot be supported or
verified from the text, tends to be a reflection of the respondents'
personalities/philosophies/aspirations/ disappointments.
 
--Ron Moyer
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gail  Lerner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 15:45:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
In response to the question about whether Romeo would have fallen in love with
Juliet if Rosaline had returned his love and he had gone to to the feast
already in her thrall, I can think only of how my grandmother would  have
responded, "You know, sweetheart, if I had wheels, I would be a streetcar." I
can't say for sure if he would have noticed Juliet if his dance card had
already been filled, but I am pretty sure that  Rosaline wouldn't have been
able to co-improvise a love sonnet with Juliet's aplomb. She's beautiful,she's
funny,  she uses big words, and her name scans better. I don't think Rosaline
ever had a chance.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bradley S. Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 14:49:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120 Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Greetings all,
 
Regarding Fred Savukinas question about Rosaline returning Romeo's love, my
first thought was that it was a question about as answerable as "how many
children does Lady Macbeth have?"
 
My second response, though, was that we already know the answer to the
question: of course he would have fallen in love with Juliet, and abandoned
Rosaline.  How do I know?  Because if you change the names a little, Romeo
becomes Demetrius, Rosaline becomes Helena, and Juliet becomes Hermia.
 
Whaddya think, Fred?
 
Brad Berens
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Collins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 18 Feb 1995 17:01:36 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Would Romeo have fallen in love with Juliet had Rosaline returned his love?
That depends.   Would the family feud still have provided an impediment?
Could he have loved Rosaline openly?  If so, I'd suspect he would have fallen
in love with Juliet whatever Rosaline's feelings.  Was it Denis de Rougemont
in _Love in the Western World_ who argued that "Happy love has no history?"
That's the real key to this question.  Romeo need an impediment to his love;
it thrives on opposition.  It's roots are in the love of suffering and death.
 
Romeo is after all the consumate Petrarchan lover.  Witness his "O brawling
love! O loving hate!" collection of Petrarchan contraries moments after his
first appearance in the play.  Like the literary master who has taught him all
he yet knows about "love," and who in fact doesn't really get going with his
sonnet sequence until Laura is safely dead and out of reach, Romeo needs
impossibility, some sort of impediment in order to fuel his love.
 
Were Rosaline to return his love Romeo would not have what he really needs as
an adolescent lover and would soon be looking for another object for his
affections.  Let me quickly add that I don't think Romeo stays an adolescent
lover all that long.  There's a change in him when he sees Juliet, a change
marked by his language.  All of a sudden he is a master of metaphor. Love for
Rosaline is "a smoke made with the fume of sighs," but Juliet "doth teach the
torches to burn bright" and "hangs upon the cheek of night/As a rich jewel in
an Ethiop's ear."  Nobody could love Rosaline long--if only because nobody
could sustain a literary pose that long.
 
(7)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Dwelle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date:           Sunday, 19 Feb 95 21:41:56 EST
Subject:        R&J question
 
When Capulet goes bananas over Juliet's refusal to go for the County Paris, he
makes the odd statement, "My fingers itch." What are we to make of that?
 
(8)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 19 Feb 1995 22:11:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0120  Q: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
It's always fun speculating about what might have been. What if Rosaline had
slept with Romeo? Would he have dumped her for Juliet, revealing that he is
just one more unstable teenager? Or would Romeo have remained faithful to
Rosaline? I think he would have remained faithful to Rosaline -- at least for a
little while. But then I doubt if his marriage to Juliet would have lasted.
What keeps him everlastingly faithful is his death.
 
Yours, Cynical Bill

Re: Keanu Reeves (Hamlet in Winnipeg)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0119. Saturday, 18 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:54:32 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0110 Re: Reeves
 
(2)     From:   Paul Hawkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 17 Feb 1995 19:40:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Keanu Reeves's Hamlet
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:54:32 -1000
Subject: 6.0110 Re: Reeves
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0110 Re: Reeves
 
Mr. Mills;
 
I don't know if this will make you feel any better but I'm a generation Xer all
the way - I even hate that term to describe the generation - that's
authenticity for you!  So, not to speak for my generation but at least for
myself - Keanu leaves A LOT to be desired.  His range as an actor is
tremendously limited and I wish people would stop casting him in roles he can't
play.  It makes everone look bad.  I hate to be cynical, but doesn't it make a
certain amount of sense that Winnipeg's local press would praise Keanu's
performance?  Think of what this stint is doing for the tourist industry
alone!.
 
Jadedly yours,
Shirley Kagan
University of Hawaii
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 17 Feb 1995 19:40:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Keanu Reeves's Hamlet
 
Sorry if this response is a little belated.  I enjoyed the London Times review
of Keanu Reeves's Hamlet; in fact, of the reviews that I have read it was far
and away the most satisfying, both for its description and sensitive commentary
on the performance and the production, and for its comments on what makes
Reeves special as an actor.  I experienced this first-hand in 1985 when I saw
him in a one-act play at the Rivoli in Toronto.  His presence on the fairly
primitive stage of that small club had something of the effect on me that I
later imagined must have been the effect on the audience of Marlon Brando's
performance in the stage production of *A Streetcar Named Desire,* to judge by
the accounts that have been written of it.  Keanu Reeves, on the probably by
most who were there now forgotten occasion that I mention, was to me
electrifying:  sexy, sensitive, assured, intelligent, controlled, and
unstoppably watchable.
 
I'll be the first to say I haven't seen anything in his movies to compare with
that-- *My Own Private Idaho* comes closest, of the films with him that I've
seen, but his performance even in it is not of the same order as the one I saw
live.  While I didn't find much to praise, and like others, did find much to
criticize in his performance in *Much Ado*--I did not think him embarrassing.
To me, the example of Keanu Reeves should teach some humility to actors and
critics, when I reflect that in even the most mediocre Hollywood actor and
star, which Reeves may now be, there is more gift, unique spark, and potential
than in *most* of the skilled performers I see in my nation's (Canada's)
theatres.
 
The London Times review is, of the handful I've read posted on this group or in
magazines, the one I trust, and is all I have to go by since I won't see the
production (perhaps it's already closed). Most of the others say something
like, "He didn't disgrace himself," but do not demonstrate through their
description how it is that he failed to do more.  That smacks to me of critical
dishonesty and cowardice.
 
Some recent posters actually *want* Reeves to be bad.  Are there no negative
reviews?  Post them! (One recently said).  I'm glad Reeves is playing Hamlet,
and glad that in the London Times, at least, he has found a serious reviewer.
 
Paul Hawkins

Q: *Romeo and Juliet*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0120. Saturday, 18 February 1995.
 
From:           Frank Savukinas <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 17 Feb 1995 13:05:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Romeo and Juliet
 
An interensting question came up in one of my Shakespeare classes that I
thought would be an good one to pose. If Rosaline had returned Romeo's love and
Romeo had gone to the Capulet feast, would he still have fallen in love for
Juliet? Of course, I thought he would have, but I have gotten some stiff
opposition. What do you think?

Re: Shakespeare Musicals

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0118. Saturday, 18 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Dave Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Feb 95 21:46:29 CST
        Subj:   Shakespeare musicals
 
(2)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:41:51 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0102 Re: Musicals
 
(3)     From:   Roger D. Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 17 Feb 1995 12:39:58 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   musical of Two Gents
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dave Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Feb 95 21:46:29 CST
Subject:        Shakespeare musicals
 
I don't know if it's the same one Sean Lawrence is referring to, but here in
Chicago, *Hamlet! The Musical* has been playing weekly for at least the last
few months at the Improv Olympic theater at 1218 W. Belmont, and has received
rave reviews.  I haven't managed to see it yet (my lack of both time and a car
being the main reasons), but I will quote in full the capsule review that has
been appearing in the Chicago Reader:
 
                      Hamlet!
"Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight:  that's the spirit behind Great
Exploitations' hilarious musical spoof of Shakespeare's most famous play.
Written in a perky 60s style that recalls Richard and Robert Sherman's Disney
film scores, Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas's briskly paced one-act doesn't
coast on kitschy smugness or gross-out grotesqueness like so many spoofs;
instead it offers a clever series of surprising variations on the original
story, building to the upbeat ending implied by the title's exclamation point
and proving that there is nothing like a Dane.  It's all grandly silly, but it
works because the company approaches the material without lazy condescension.
The witty result should entertain Shakespeare admirers and musical-comedy
aficionados as well as the late-night party-show crowd."
 
Showtime is Saturdays at 11 PM, and their phone # is (312) 880-0199 for anyone
who wants to check it out.
 
Dave Kathman
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:41:51 -1000
Subject: 6.0102 Re: Musicals
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0102 Re: Musicals
 
There's a cute adaptation of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (very early 70's) that I
think was John Guare.  Don't quote me on that.  I played Julia in a version for
which new music was written back in 1985 at Williams College.  I don't know
what the original music sounds like.  Our production went over really well.
 
Shirley Kagan
University of Hawaii.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger D. Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 17 Feb 1995 12:39:58 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        musical of Two Gents
 
Gavin Witt wondered about a recording of the musical version of TWO GENTS.
 
It was a sensational show which involved several people who were hot at the
time.  It was called, simply, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA.  It won both the Tony
and the New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Musical in 1972.  Adapted
by John Guare and the director, Mel Shapiro.  Music by Galt McDermot (composer
of HAIR).  Lyrics by John Guare.  Ming Cho Lee did the set.  Raul Julia,
Clifton Davis, and Diana Davila were knockouts.  A very good, two-disc album
was released by ABC Records (# ?CSY 1001--do you suppose this was their first
album?).  Lots of pictures in this big three-fold album.
 
The script, music for several of the best songs, and lots of pictures were
published in a volume by Holt, Rinehart & Winston (a Holt Paperback).  It was
designed for outdoor touring and playing in the park but was so successful that
they brought it to Broadway which is where I saw it.  It's as good an
adaptation of Shakespeare as I have seen.
 
For Michael Martin:  in your search for versions of Shakespeare-set-to-music,
don't overlook the extraordinary album by the astonishing Cleo Laine.  I think
it's called SHAKESPEARE AND ALL THAT JAZZ.  The orchestra and, as I recall, the
melodies are by John Dankworth, her jazz-composer/band leader/alto-sax-playing
then-husband. Most of the songs are settings of the sonnets but there is one
called THE COMPLETE WORKS which makes a song of ALL of Shakespeare's titles.
The style of the music is mostly mellow jazz.
 
There are PLENTY of "period" recordings.  I'll send along some titles soon.
 
The more music, the better!
 
Roger

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