Opening with Orsino’s famous words “If music be the food of love, play on”, and ending with the jester Feste’s haunting lament The Wind and the Rain(one of Feste’s six songs), with many references to music along the way, Twelfth Nightis arguably Shakespeare’s most musical play. But the score will be a bigger component than ever in Sam Strong’s new production for Queensland Theatre, which involves Tim Finn as composer.

Tim Finn. Photo © Stephen Ward

“Music is at the absolute heart of Twelfth Night,” says Strong, QT’s Artistic Director, who took that idea as his starting point. Having been mightily impressed by the songs in Finn’s musical Ladies in Black, which began life at QT, Strong approached the New Zealand singer-songwriter about collaborating on The Bard.

Finn had been talking to Strong about “another music theatre project, which may yet see the light of day”, and wasn’t sure initially. “I’m very invested in music theatre now and have been trying to create songs that serve narrative, and so I wasn’t sure if doing Shakespeare was going to be just a matter of filling in some...

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