Press Release – June 28, 2015 – London, United Kingdom — The magic of Shakespeare is derived from the fact that the renowned plays written by the Bard of Avon can nimbly be transported from London’s Globe Theater in Elizabethan England to the spell-casting city of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. That’s what Linnie Reedman and Joe Evans have done with their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as they’ve turned it into Shakespeare’s musical and taken the Bard to the bayou. Audiences who expect to hear the sound of the lute for musical accompaniment will be intrigued to listen to the jazz of Dr. John, who gave his approval for its inclusion, in this production by Ruby in the Dust.
Ruby in the Dust is a nonprofit company that’s been around since 2007. It was formed by Linnie Reedman, Young Vic Genesis director and composer/musician/writer/sound designer/producer Joe Evans. Together, they’ve brought more than 12 productions to the stage that run the gamut from the fringe to the West End. They’ve proven their skill at integrating original and interpolated music into the text. Of Bonnie and Clyde, The Times critic wrote that it conjured a “powerful visual and musical atmosphere.” They’ve won raves for their musical shows and because the stamp of authenticity that they place on every production is simultaneously true to its roots and boldly original, they’ve been able to use music that already claims a steadfast audience and introduce it to new ones. They received the blessing of the Cole Porter Estate to use several Porter compositions for their production of Hutch in 2013. Their adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been optioned by a U.S. producer, and developed with Royal Shakespeare Company’s director Adrian Noble. The Telegraph said of the production of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic that it “grips throughout.”
Producing a show of any kind is not a cheap enterprise; bringing a show like this to life is a venture that needs help from Kickstarter. The nonprofit company is counting on a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,562 to fund the production. Paying the cast, creative team, musicians, designers, costume, lighting, directors, stage managers, photographers, press—in short, the talent—is half the cost of any production.
The production is true to the tale that Shakespeare wrote, while capitalizing on the creative freedom that his originality has bestowed upon generations who, over the 400 years since his death, have found new ways to present his classic works. Set in the city that gave birth to jazz, the story begins in the rundown New Orleans jazz clubs and winds its way into the dark, moody mystery of the Louisiana bayous. In addition to the music of Dr. John, the musical includes the songs of Louis Armstrong and Professor Longhair, as well as Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated song from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, Down in New Orleans. Oberon and Titania are “The Night Tripper” and the Voodoo Queen, and the “Mechanicals” form one of the earliest of the jazz bands. And can you imagine Puck set loose in the city where there’s practically a city ordinance requiring the making of mischief? The “play within a play” becomes a Mardi Gras jam session, and those members of the audience who are so moved, and so able, are invited to bring their instruments to jam with the cast after the shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
The crowdfunding goal of this campaign is to bring in $15, 562 in donations to make this dream happen. And remember, voodoo and New Orleans go together like crowdfunding and dollars, so open that wallet before Marie Leveau sticks a pin in it.
About Ruby in the Dust:
With over twelve productions under its belt, Ruby in the Dust (www.rubyinthedusttheatre.com) has built a brand that easily includes both West End sites and shows on the fringe since its creation in 2007. The Young Vic’s Linnie Reedman and acclaimed composer/musical director Joe Evans have proven themselves as innovators who present shows that integrate original music and interpolated music into the text. They’ve adapted a musical production of The Great Gatsby, and a show that used Cole Porter compositions; a version of Dorian Gray and a brilliant performance of Romeo and Juliet featuring an RSC actress who had the critics marveling. Their latest, and possibly most original production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is set in New Orleans and features the songs of the legendary Dr. John.