“Twelfth Night” Composer Jams With Staples Players

Sure, “Twelfth Night” is Shakespeare.

But Staples Players’ productions always come with a twist. Next month’s show by the award-winning high school troupe is a catchy, contemporary musical version of the Bard’s romantic comedy.

They’ve been excited about it, ever since rehearsals began.

Last week, they got an added jolt: Composer Shaina Taub came to the Staples stage, to chat — and sing — with the cast.

The visit started as a shot in the dark. Co-director Kerry Long reached out on Instagram, noting that Taub’s friend Justin Paul — composer of “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Greatest Showman” and “La La Land” — is a Players alum.

Taub’s schedule is packed, but she graciously agreed to visit.

Shaina Taub (front row, center, hands clasped) enjoys a sing-along with Players. Andrew Maskoff is at the piano. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The Westport teens related to her stories about growing up as a musical theater kid in Vermont. She described the importance of her extended theater family at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, and the daunting task of writing an adaptation of Shakespeare after a call from the Public Theater.

Long and co-director David Roth led a Q-and-A session. A question about her writing process brought this advice about getting something — anything — down: “A C+ song on paper is better than an A+ song that hasn’t been written.”

Then the real fun began: a sing-along around the piano.

“There’s something amazing for theater kids to sing songs with the person who wrote them,” Long says.

“Our students are obsessed with the music. They all the know the words to every song, even if they don’t sing it in the show.”

Shaina Taub (left) with Sophia Betit. The senior plays Feste in “Twelfth Night” — the role Taub originated in her own show at the Public Theater. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Taub is now an accomplished composer and actor. But she went right back into “theater kid” mode, singing and bopping joyfully with the young cast.

It was a magical 90 minutes.

Then — the moment it was over — rehearsal began.

Shaina Taub could surely relate.

(Staples Players perform “Twelfth Night” at 7:30 p.m. on March 17, 18, 24 and 25, and 3 p.m. on March 19 and 25. Click here for tickets, and more information. Hat tip: Jill Johnson Mann)

(Staples Players is where teenagers meet Shakespeare — and Shaina Taub. “06880” is “where Westport meets the world” — and you read all about it. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

One response to ““Twelfth Night” Composer Jams With Staples Players

  1. Thank you Taub. Fantastic experience for Players! Can’t wait to see Staples’ production of Twelfth Night.

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