Romeo and Juliet – the musical

For licensing and rights, contact me here on my website.

Romeo and Juliet the musical uses the original English text of William Shakespeare.

    • Romeo and Juliet the musical
    • Book and Lyrics by William Shakespeare
    • Music by Conrad Askland
    • Premiere January 2015
    • Historic Lincoln Theatre, Mount Vernon, WA
    • Presented by META Performing Arts

Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet the musical

Continue reading “Romeo and Juliet – the musical”

PAN the musical

For licensing and rights, contact me here on my website.

PAN the musical is the story of Peter Pan and Wendy, based on the beloved classic story by J.M. Barrie.

  • PAN the musical
  • Book, Music and Lyrics by Conrad Askland
  • Based on “Peter and Wendy” by J.M. Barrie
  • Premiere September 2013
  • Historic Lincoln Theatre, Mount Vernon, WA
  • Presented by META Performing Arts

Excerpts from PAN the musical

Continue reading “PAN the musical”

Mamma Mia – Music Director Notes

I just finished a 10-show run of Mamma Mia at McIntyre Hall (Mount Vernon, WA) with Theater Arts Guild of Skagit County WA, a nonprofit community theater group.

On this show I worked as music director, vocal director, rehearsal pianist and Key1/Conductor.

Mamma Mia Music Director Notes

1 Overture

2. I Have A Dream
Cutoff on third “Sophie” – hold and fade on any chord.

3. Honey Honey
Underscore cut m. 67-71 (dialogue goes quick)
Chorus – in rehearsal have chorus sing open “Ah” on all background vocals. This will get them used to having a full open sound – then with open sound, change lip formation to “ooh”
m. 92-103 Key3 – awesome blues piano part but needs to be pianissimo for dialogue
m. 104 vamp – vamp is F7-Bb7 – last time I play G7-C7 so entrance is very clear for chorus

Continue reading “Mamma Mia – Music Director Notes”

Pray the Gay Away® – serious musical comedy

Public Announcement – Tuesday, April 2, 2019

“Pray the Gay Away”® – a serious musical comedy written by Conrad Askland, will premiere November 8-24, 2019 at the Historic Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA (USA). The show will be produced by TAG (Theater Arts Guild of Skagit County, WA) and directed by Lindsey Bowen and Gabriel Guevara.

Auditions will be June 25-27, 2019 in Mount Vernon, WA. Show information and audition signups are available at https://ptgashow.com. Follow the PTGA 2019 show on Facebook at: https://www.Facebook.com/ptgainfo .

 

Conrad Askland (writer) on “Pray the Gay Away® – a serious musical comedy”

“Pray the Gay Away”® is my fourth full length original musical. My previous musicals were Witches (2012), PAN (2013) and Romeo and Juliet (2015). This project is much more complex than my previous projects. The interplay of the book, music and lyrics is very delicate because of the subject matter. “Pray the Gay Away” is about gay conversion therapy. This story takes place in Minnetonka, Minnesota 1982. It is a story about a church, an emerging LGBQT support group and a family caught in the middle of differing views on gay conversion therapy, sexual identity, politics and theology.

A show is never complete until a public paying audience is in front of it. On the November 8, 2019 premiere is when we will know how the general public views this work. I would anticipate, and it should be obvious with a show dealing with politics, religion and sexual identity, that audience views on this musical may differ wildly.

I can tell you that in our many group readings so far, the material of PTGA is landing as I intended it to land. Readers have been surprised to find out that many of the stereotypes they were expecting in the script, were not there at all. I believe the vision for this story is unique. I also believe that it is told in a way that is very entertaining and moving. The show uses humor to address a painfully serious subject that we are currently dealing with in the United States in different ways. Not just gay conversion therapy, but also the topic of gay conversion therapy in its application to adolescents.

I have been working on the book, music and lyrics of “Pray the Gay Away”® for many years. My fear had always been that I was too late to bring this to the stage. Too late to be socially relevant. Too late to make a difference. The sad truth, here in 2019, is that if anything, I am too early in bringing this to the stage. The battle still wages on as strong as it ever has.

It is time to take this topic and bring it to the stage in a new light. The subject of gay conversion therapy needs to be talked about more. It should not, and cannot, be swept under the rug anymore.

This is not a show I want to do. This is a show I have to do. To quote the great 16th century theologian Martin Luther:

“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
(Martin Luther)

– Conrad Askland (April 2, 2019)

Lost Boys – PAN the musical

“Lost Boys” from PAN the musical at the Historic Lincoln Theater, September 2013. Book, music and lyrics by Conrad Askland based on “Peter and Wendy” by JM Barrie.

I wrote “PAN the musical” for META Performing Arts, a youth theater non-profit group in Mount Vernon, WA. PAN is a new version of the Peter Pan story that combined audience interaction, songs for children and some high brow musical theater as well. One critic said it was the perfect show for children AND adults to enjoy together.

PAN the musical website at: http://www.PanMusical.com

Continue reading “Lost Boys – PAN the musical”

Varekai Band 2017

Musicians from the Cirque du Soleil Varekai band taken June 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania by Gabrielus Jauniskis.

From left to right: David Piché (violin), Conrad Askland (bandleader and keyboards), Mikey Hachey (bass), Isabelle Corradi (singer), Jamieson Lindenberg (singer), Damion Corideo (percussion), Jose Manuel Pizarro Carmona (winds) and Paul James Bannerman (drums).

It is an absolute pleasure to work with this group of musicians!

Continue reading “Varekai Band 2017”

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.

Continue reading “Q&A: Romeo and Juliet rendition questions”

“Steve Jobs” Movie 2015 – Objective vs. Subjective

steve-jobs-movie-2015

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.”

Continue reading ““Steve Jobs” Movie 2015 – Objective vs. Subjective”

Rock of Ages 2015 – Arsenal Band

andre-karkos-ROA-2015-guitar

(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!

Continue reading “Rock of Ages 2015 – Arsenal Band”

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

Spain-magazine-arsenal-2014-ROA-band

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

PAN-full-score-cover-web

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.

Continue reading “PAN scores completed”