Adam Stern always has been a huge fan of William Shakespeare.
"’King Lear’ is my favorite play," Stern said. "I’ve always, always loved Shakespeare … who doesn’t? I read him constantly."
In a burst of inspiration, Stern, the Grammy Award-winning musical director and conductor for both the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Philharmonic, decided to create an entire musical
show based on music inspired by the playwright.
"The concert is made up entirely of music written to accompany Shakespeare productions, music inspired by him and his plays and music from his films," Stern explained.
Stern’s idea became "The Bard Goes to Broadway," a Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra concert featuring Seattle-based actors Randy Hoffmeyer and Gretchen Orsland, who will do dramatic readings of parts of Shakespeare’s plays between musical numbers.
"They’re marvelous," Stern said of Hoffmeyer and Orsland, both renowned actors.
Among the songs Stern chose is Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s "Romeo and Juliet," which he calls "probably the most popular song inspired by William
Other numbers include songs from Cole Porter’s "Kiss Me, Kate," a popular production that features a musical version of Shakespeare’s "The Taming of the Shrew," and songs from "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and "West Side Story."
To add to the 17th-century feel of the evening, the Port Angeles Light Opera Association has provided Shakespearian costumes, which will be donned by several peninsula-area actors who will be roaming the lobby.
"It sets the tone of the night," Stern said.
Rehearsing for the production means a lot of traveling for Stern – he regularly commutes from his Seattle-area home to Port Angeles for evening rehearsals, often not returning home until well after midnight. But, for Stern, who has guest-conducted in symphonies from Oregon, California and Colorado to Michigan, Wisconsin and New York, the travel is worth it.
"The Port Angeles Symphony is wonderful, so talented," Stern said. "And with ("The Bard Goes to Broadway") the audience can see how many different types of music was inspired by just one author."
The pops concert kicks off the symphony’s 2008-2009 season. Other upcoming concerts include the Chamber Orchestra concert on Oct. 17 and 18, symphony concerts on Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 and a North Olympic Youth Symphony concert with a yet-to-be-determined date. For more information, visit www.olypen.com/pasymphony/.
Who: Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Adam Stern, with guest actors Gretchen Orsland and Randy Hoffmeyer
What: "The Bard Goes to Broadway," pops concert 2008
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27
Where: Sequim High School auditorium on Friday, Port Angeles High School auditorium on Saturday
Tickets: $18, which includes admission and refreshments, available at The Buzz in Sequim or Port Book & News in Port Angeles or by calling 457-5579.