In May 2022, the Liberty Bell Drama Company (LBDC), in partnership with Methow Arts and the Merc Playhouse, will deliver an ambitious production of “Twelfth Night”: a rousing contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy about mistaken identity and self-discovery.
“Twelfth Night” tells the story of Viola, a young heroine who washes up on the shores of Illyria and disguises herself as a man in order to work for Count Orsino, who is in love with Countess Olivia. What happens when Viola falls hard for Orsino and he sends her to court Olivia? And what happens when Olivia falls for this strange and charming messenger? Is the disguise truly the devil’s blessing? As Viola navigates this strange and wonderful new land, she finds her true self and true love in the process.
This lively, contemporary version of “Twelfth Night” features an original jazz-funk-pop score and allows the players and the audience to explore the themes of friendship, love, gender identity, gender politics, and women’s studies, all while learning classic Shakespearean language in the format of a musical dramatic comedy. The musical will feature an experienced cast that many valley residents will recognize from prior performances. Many of the actors honed their skills through The Merc Playhouse children’s theater program and have featured in previous Liberty Bell Drama Company productions such as “The Laramie Project” and “Middletown.”
Students in LBDC are also designing and creating costumes, envisioning and building the set, painting backdrops, and designing all of the promotional materials. Due to the disappointing COVID cancellation of Mamma Mia two years ago, this is the first chance any of these students have had to create and perform a musical at Liberty Bell. The energy and enthusiasm is palpable.
Some of the Methow Valley’s most accomplished musicians and singers (Dana Stromberger, Linda Mendro, Wayne Mendro, Craig Lints, Lynnette Westendorf, and Emily Nelson) are working closely with the students on the musical numbers. LBHS student Kellen Miles plays guitar throughout the play, along with LBHS music teacher David Mills on drums.
Through its Artist in Residence program, Methow Arts is supporting voice and instrument coaching, set design, and construction support. The Public School Funding Alliance and Confluence Health are also supporting technical aspects of the show through grant funding. The Merc Playhouse has adopted “Twelfth Night” as part of their season offerings, giving the students extra time in the theater, light and sound design help from Stephen Kish, ticketing and promotion support. In addition, executive director Missi Smith is helping the students with choreography for the show. All of this highlights the true community nature of this event.
Thanks to Methow Valley School District’s efforts at providing equitable access to all educational and extracurricular opportunities, Twelfth Night will be offered to the community free of charge. Tickets will eventually be reservable through The Merc Playhouse website, but they will cost you nothing. Instead, consider funding the community partners who are making this production possible: Methow Arts, The Merc Playhouse, and Public School Funding Alliance.
Formed in early 2014, following a gap in school district drama class offerings after the retirement of the long-time drama teacher, the LBDC is a Liberty Bell High School class designed to allow students to become an active part of interpreting the human condition. Contextually, it integrates into the International Baccalaureate global frameworks relating to personal & cultural expression and identities & relationships. Students help create, perform, and critically respond to various forms of theatrical performances as well as learning vocabulary and techniques related to writing, directing, staging, and performing in plays and musicals.
DATES: Wed, May 18-Sat, May 21, 7pm. Sun, May 22, 3pm. LOCATION: The Merc Playhouse. TICKETS: Free but must be reserved in advance. MORE INFO: email@example.com
Link to acquire tickets will be posted in early May.