design logo




New American Musical Festival, Los Angeles
12th Annual Gdansk Sjakespeare Festival, Gdansk, Poland
Teatr Rozrywki, Chorzow, Poland

Bryan Reynolds
Bryan Reynolds, William Shakespeare
Michael Hooker
Christopher Marshall


(description from the playbill):
"Collaging King Lear, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, and several other of Shakespeare's plays, Luming in Fargo rock operas the eccentric world of multi-millionaire Leopold Wallersheim out of a tempestuous winter that could only be mellowed by his puckish retro 80's new wave poodle until the melodious voice of a nubile furniture mover ignites hitherto unimagined passions. Yet the Fargoian romantics are unexpectedly muffled when accusations of a terrible crime compromise their idyllic future.The ensuing courtroom drama, haunted by tragic histories as well as ghostly forbearance, raises questions unanswerable."

Setting Shakespeare's words and lyrics to music has been a centuries-long challenge. Add in 25% non-Shakespeare content, a modern plot told through pieces of his entire canon, a Fargo-ian style and a bit of 80's pop flair -- and now you have an olympic-sized musical challenge. I wrote the music for LUMPING IN FARGO over a one month period by taking active part in the rehearsal process and letting the scenes be staged and explored first. The majority of songs came only a day after that scene was first rehearsed. There are 29 pieces of music total.

LUMPING IN FARGO made it's way from a faculty research project at the University of California, Irvine all the way to the prestigious Gdansk Shakespeare Festival - one of Europe's largest. I was honestly terrified to present this work to an international audeince of Shakespearean scholars, but it was well recevied. In the spring of 2013 it was subsequently produced by the University of California, San Diego as part of their season.

"Chandelier" adapted from a song by Desdemona in OTHELLO
Leopold and Elvira (the poodle) weather out the storm and his musings of love under the light of a chandelier.

"Heigh Ho" adapted from AS YOU LIKE IT
During another winter storm the cheerful lumpers (North Dakota colloquialism for furniture movers) deliver furniture to Leopold.

"Winter and Rough Weather" adapted from AS YOU LIKE IT
The opening song from the show trades off between Leopold (who endlessly stews about the weather) and Elvira who tries to cheer him up. Leopold's music throughtout the show is styled after romantic opera. Elvira always has something musically iconic from the 80's - like driving synthesizer bass or drum machines.

"Cuckoo/Whither I Go" is from "Love's Labour's Lost" and "Winter's Tale"
Here it is repurposed as the closing numbers of the show. Cuckoo is Leopold's pennance and reaffirmation of his love. Whither I go serves as the traditional closer at the peak of the act-2 arc. This is the music track only - no vocals. Please see the music downloads below.

"Jerry Lee's Suicide" is one of three underscores with words derived from "Hamlet".




Photo credits: Mike Hooker



download: "Cuckoo"
download: "Whither I Go"