From the Playbill
“Our first music-enhanced Shakespeare experiment was our 1997 ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’ We had seen Dennis Potter’s mind-blowing ‘The Singing Detective’ on TV and, inspired by its outrageous mixing of drama, pop music and theatricality, we created a ‘Shrew’ where Petruchio was Elvis Presley who, upon meeting Kate, sings ‘Hard-headed woman,’ and Kate was Leslie Gore who rebutted musically with ‘You Don’t Own Me.’ An on-stage juke box set the scene for a show full of music, dancing, and iconic 1950’s personalities. We loved watching the audience howl each night, despite the horror of some of the critics.
For the past nine years, we’ve gone to Los Barriles, Mexico each Spring to put on a Shakespeare play in a little town of 3,500 people on the Sea of Cortez between Cabo and La Paz. Baja Shakespeare has been revolutionary for this tiny fishing and drinking village, giving people a chance to come together to play and perform. Everyone is cast, and most of the audience knows a lot of the actors.
After a few years, some of the less culturally demanding folks said, ‘Shakespeare is great, but maybe one year we could do a musical.’ This gave us the idea to revive a version of our 1997 ‘Shrew’ in Baja, which was a huge hit. We are now practically demanded each year to create a Shakespeare adaptation that gives our ‘actors’ – local small business owners, sport fishermen, and retirees – opportunities not only to speak glorious language and enliven complex characters, but also to sing and dance. And thus was this production born.
We had so much fun in Baja, we decided to see if we could re-create the spirit here in Marin. Of course, working with professional actors, and designers with access to far more resources than exist in Los Barriles, we hope to find new wonders too. In the spirit of Baja, however, we suggest that this play would go well with a couple of Dos Equis or a pitcher of margaritas.
If you love Shakespeare, please remember Puck’s entreaty to forgive us weak shadows; if you think you hate Shakespeare, we’re going to try to change, if not blow, your mind.”
– Directors’ Notes