Q&A: Romeo and Juliet rendition questions

These are questions I received about my musical “Romeo and Juliet”. My musical version of RJ premiered in January 2015 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. Directed by Joe Bowen and presented by META Performing Arts. The challenge set for this production was to score the entire musical using only Shakespeare’s original text. No watering down the words. No slang and updated lyrics. And no hipster modern setting. We set the set and costumes to the original Shakespeare time period of the late 16th century. It was a very challenging project and extremely fulfilling. Here’s a link to check out original musicals by Conrad Askland.

How have you adapted the themes of the play to adapt and suit the modern day audience and politics?

Yes and no. In my rendition,  I use Shakespeare’s original words. For the premiere run I requested period costumes and sets (1590’s). Of course, a future company could choose to change that approach, but to me those considerations are superficial. To my personal taste, those changes detract instead of adding to the production. Musically, I scored the show in a combination of North American Broadway style and light opera. So it was the music itself that was tailored to a musical theatre crowd while the text and presentation was true to the period in which it was written.

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“Steve Jobs” Movie 2015 – Objective vs. Subjective

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Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay for the 2015 movie “Steve Jobs”. I just saw the film and absolutely loved it. It has had disappointing ticket sales so far but has a very respectable 85% review rate from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

One of the complaints from tech heads is that some of the true facts have been adjusted for the screenplay to make it a better film. In the link below, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin explains the difference between “subjective” and “objective”; or in other words that some have said, “this is not a documentary, this is a painting.”

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Rock of Ages 2015 – Arsenal Band

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(Photo: Andre “Virus” Karkos – Guitarist for Rock of Ages 2015)

Just finishing up my second contract as music director and keyboards for Rock of Ages out of New York with NCL International. What an awesome run this has been! The arsenal band for this run are some of the most talented and just all around cool musicians I have ever worked with. Awesome grooves and strong, hard hitting rock performances throughout the entire contract. Way to go Arsenal!

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Romeo and Juliet the musical – World Premiere January 2015

Romeo & Juliet Premiere poster

Romeo and Juliet the musical will have it’s world premiere January 30 – February 15, 2015 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA.

RJ is my largest and most advanced musical score to date and features 10+ live musicians with a cast of 30+. The script and lyrics use only the original source text from William Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet. Our time period is the authentic time period of Shakespeare’s original world premiere of RJ, late sixteenth century (1592-1594).

This work is orchestrated for Key 1, Key 2, Trombone, Horn, Flute/Piccolo/Recorder, Oboe, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Drums Bass and Guitar.

In over 400 years, since the original premiere of Romeo and Juliet, there has never been a successful musical rendition that has been embraced by both audiences and theater critics. Artistically this is a momentous challenge as we aim to do just that. We are brave. We are strong. We are RJ 2015. HUZZAH!

Follow our progress at the website for Romeo and Juliet the musical

Rock of Ages 2014 NCL New York Arsenal band Spanish newspaper write up

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From left to right: Miki Santamaria (Guitar 2), Conrad Askland (Music Director and Keyboards), Paul Wandtke (Drums) and Angel Paz (Guitar 1).

Diario de Pontevedra, a Spanish newspaper, published an article about our Rock of Ages lead guitar player Angel Paz and included a photo of our band. This is “Arsenal” for the 2014 Rock of Ages at NCL New York.

We’ve had a great run as the 80’s Arsenal band on this show. A lot of work, but totally worth it and a stunning cast to work with both on and off the stage. Now, if I can only figure out what the article actually says…

PAN scores completed

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The scripts and scores are completed for my latest musical – “PAN” (http://www.PanMusical.com). Even though the show had a community theater premiere in Sept. 2013, the follow-up process of completing the scores is very intense. Edits to script and score from the live run have to be incorporated. Tech notes, alternate melodies, clarifications to script and tech, and the never ending process of adding as much complete information as possible to the final orchestral score.

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Auditions Oct. 7-8, 2014 Romeo and Juliet the musical

Romeo & Juliet Auditions Oct. 7-8, 2014

Auditions for Conrad Askland’s Romeo and Juliet the musical will be October 7-8, 2014 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. Visit www.RJMusical.com to sign up for auditions.

This show will be a world premiere with an all new musical score set to the original words of William Shakespeare. Directed by Joe Bowen and presented by META Performing Arts. This live musical version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will run Jan. 30 – Feb. 15, 2015 at the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA.

There will be NO participation fees for this particular production.

C.L. Askland’s Romeo and Juliet opera scored on an Akai LPK25

My upcoming musical theater opera, “Romeo and Juliet” was written with an Akai LPK25 two-octave USB keyboard. What? Muahaha, yes! In retrospect kind of hard to fathom, but there she is. I did all the music composition and beginning orchestration sketches in the Officer’s Bar of a cruise ship on my off time. The Akai LPK25 keyboard has convenient octave switching buttons on the side so I was able to easily navigate through bass and treble parts for fairly effortless composing. It was only a little tedious when doing soprano vocal lines; that’s when I really wish I had that extra octave. But hey, writing an opera on a two octave keyboard that fits in my computer bag – I’ll take that! Thank you Akai for an awesome product!

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ENNW Magazine Review of C.L. Askland’s “PAN the musical”

The review is in for C.L. Askland’s “PAN the musical” world premiere!

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From reviewer Lily Olason from Entertainment News Northwest Magazine:

“Askland creates more magic”

“…spectacular musicianship”

“…this show delights believers of any age”

“Askland’s take on the Neverlandian pirate troupe is excellent”

“Captain Hook (Peter Whited) is delightfully menacing”

“Throughout, the musicality and original score stuns”

“It’s as much fun to watch the show as to listen”

“The aesthetics of this show…are a knockout”

“Choreographed fabulously by Glynna Goff”

“Forty-year-olds will love this as much as their third-grader”

“It is certainly appropriate for kids”

PAN the musical “asks the big questions, it makes you think, and hands you a mirror”

“Pan: The Musical is a local, skilled and professional-caliber production with a big heart”

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Press Release: PAN the musical world premiere

August 6, 2013 – Mount Vernon, WA:
PAN the musical world premiere will run Sept. 20 – Oct. 6, 2013 at the Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA.

Click Here to Buy Tickets Now

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Peter Pan comes to life with a cast over 40 strong in this live musical stage production. Fun audience interaction, melodramatic suspense, vaudeville gags and high brow musical theater combine to delight adults and children alike. Share this classic tale with your family while you help Peter Pan and the Lost Boys defeat the Pirates of Neverland.

A world premiere musical by Conrad Askland. Directed by Joe Bowen and presented by META Performing Arts. An interactive family friendly experience. The classic story for a new generation.

PAN the musical 2013 trailer

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PAN 2013 Performance Dates

Friday, Sep 20, 7:00 pm
Saturday, Sep 21, 7:00 pm
Sunday, Sep 22, 2:00 pm
Friday, Sep 27, 7:00 pm
Saturday, Sep 28, 2:00 pm
Sunday, Sep 29, 2:00 pm
Thursday, Oct 3, 7:00 pm
Friday, Oct 4, 7:00 pm
Saturday, Oct 5, 7:00 pm
Sunday, Oct 6, 2:00 pm
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Reserved seating ticket prices: $20, $17, $15, and $10 available now plus a special $10 bargain show on Thursday, Oct. 3, 7:00 pm – all seats first come first served night of the performance – tickets available two hours prior to curtain.

Fair warning: The first couple rows may get wet!

Auditions for PAN the musical – May 2013

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AUDITION NOTICE – Auditions for PAN the musical will be Tues. May 28 and Wed. May 29, 2013 from 6-9pm at the Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA. This is a new family-friendly creation by Conrad Askland based on JM Barrie’s 1911 book “Peter and Wendy”. Join Peter Pan, Hook, Wendy and the Lost Boys on their adventures in Neverland. The classic story for a new generation.

For more info and to schedule auditions visit the Peter Pan musical website at PanMusical.com

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Witches! the Musical – 2013 Trailer

2013 trailer for my show Witches! the Musical. This trailer contains clips from the October 2012 community theater premiere at the Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA. The next run of this Salem musical will be June 2014 at the Whitby Courthouse Theater in Ontario, Canada.

Thank you so much for the awesome support of the Theater Arts Guild, cast, crew and local audiences. It was a very exciting and fulfilling run for us and your feedback was very generous in helping us bring the show to it’s next level.

Witches! Video Showing April 30, 2013 in Mount Vernon, WA

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On Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7pm the Historic Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA will host a free public video showing of Witches! the Musical recorded during it’s October 2012 premiere run. This is a fundraising event for the Lincoln Theater Digital Futures Initiative. The event will include presentations by Theater Arts Guild (TAG) and members of the creation team.

Witches! is a new musical about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. The story contains many of the historical people involved in the trials including Bridget Bishop, Dr. William Griggs, Abigail Williams, Rev. Samuel Parris, Giles Corey and the Circle Girls. Visit the show website: Salem Witch Trial Musical.

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