Jazz joins Shakespeare for ‘Such Sweet Thunder’

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 01:20 AM

“Such Sweet Thunder,” a musical and dramatic interpretation of jazz inspired by the works of Shakespeare, will be performed Saturday night in High Point.
The program is a collaboration between the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and John Brown and his 15-member big band. Brown, a Grammy Award-nominated jazz bassist, is director of the prestigious jazz program at Duke University. Brown and his band will perform the musical work, “Such Sweet Thunder,” and actors from the Shakespeare Festival either explain stories behind the music or recite related portions of Shakespeare’s works.
““Such Sweet Thunder,” a 12-piece suite, was composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in the 1950s, and it was inspired by Shakespeare’s works. Ellington became fascinated by Shakespeare and his works after visiting England in 1933. The title, “Such Sweet Thunder,” is from a line in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Ellington described “Such Sweet Thunder” as his “attempt to parallel the vignettes of some of the Shakespearean characters in miniature —  sometimes to the point of caricature.” 
The Shakespeare Festival and Brown and his band debuted the program last year in High Point and also performed it in Charlotte and Durham.
The program will be given at 8 p.m. Saturday at High Point Country Club, 800 Country Club Road. Tickets are $75 each, or $650 for a table for 10. Tickets include several courses of plated hors d’oeuvres and an open wine and beer bar. They’re available by calling 841-2273 or online at www.ncshakes.org.