Standup Shakespeare (Folger Theatre, 1995)

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Folger Theatre and Alabama Shakespeare Festival co-produced Standup Shakespeare, book by Kenneth Welsh and music by Ray Leslee, directed by Darwin Knight, from November 7 to 19, 1995. This production took place at the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre and at Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Jeff Hairston and Alison Fraser (vocalists), Standup Shakespeare, directed by Darwin Knight, Folger Theatre co-produced with Alabama Shakespeare Festival, 1995. Photo by Chris Shreve.


Standup Shakespeare sets the timeless language of the Bard to the exciting rhythms of jazz, baroque, samba and gospel-rock original music. A fractured love story is performed by a modern-day Fool and two glorious singers.

The Production

Jeff Hairston, the male vocalist, and Jack Bashkow, the Music Director, were both nominated for Helen Hayes Awards for "Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical" and "Outstanding Musical Director, Resident Musical," respectively.

Entertainment unions represented in Folger Theatre productions include The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (**) and the Actors' Equity Association (*), which includes members of the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.


  • Alison Fraser*: Female Singer
  • Jeff Hairston*: Male Singer
  • Baxter Harris: Fool
  • Michael Schwendermann: Heckler


  • Jack Bashkow: Woodwinds
  • Ray Leslee: Piano
  • Ratzo B. Harris: Bass
  • Rob Thomas: Violin

Creative team

  • Darwin Knight**, Director
  • Ray Leslee, Music
  • Kenneth Welsh & William Shakespeare, Book
  • Jack Bashkow, Music Director
  • Charles Caldwell, Scenic Design
  • Terry Cermak, Lighting Design
  • Elizabeth Novak, Costume Design
  • Kristen R. Kuipers, Sound Design
  • Cameron Jackson*, Stage Manager
  • McCorkle Casting, Ltd., Casting Director

Production team

  • MTS Productions, Inc., Technical Production Management
  • Thomas Young, Additional Vocal Arrangements
  • Susan Willis, Dramaturg
  • Anna Flye, Administrative Coordinator
  • Natalie Holbrook, House Manager

Folger Theatre

  • Janet Alexander Griffin, Director of Museum and Public Programs


Cast Album.

The Folger produced a cast album for Bard Records and Albany Records in 1996.

Track Listing

1. St. Valentine's Day (Hamlet)
2. Shallow Rivers (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
3. By Gis (Hamlet)
4. Say That She Rail (The Taming of the Shrew)
5. Take O Take (Measure for Measure)
6. Jazz (Various Sources)
7. Come Away Death (Twelfth Night)
8. When In Desgrace (Sonnet 29)
9. I Know A Bank (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
10. I Do Love Thee (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
11. Sigh No More (Much Ado About Nothing)
12. Puck (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
13. O Mistress Mine (Twelfth Night)
14. Let Me Not (Sonnet 116)
15. Shall I Compare Thee (Sonnet 18)
16. Love Is Perjured (Romeo and Juliet)
17. Hey Ho! (Twelfth Night)

Image gallery