& Juliet Creator David West Read Max Martin’s Musical

…baby one more time. Since U Been Gone. Can’t stop the feeling. I kissed the girl

Some of the biggest pop songs of the last 20-odd years have one thing in common. Max Martin, the mastermind behind the mysterious Swedish pop.

The songwriting and production genius has explored a variety of styles since penning his first pop hit with a capital P for the Backstreet Boys in the mid-’90s, incorporating rock and R&B into Coldplay and The Rock. I’ve worked with The Weeknd and others. And recent Rizzo.

But his latest reinvention is perhaps his most amazing. A catalog of Martin’s hits & Julieta new musical retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tale, set to about 30 of Martin’s most famous songs.

The man tasked with turning this unlikely marriage into a cohesive musical wins an Emmy Sitts Creek Writer David West Read & Juliet‘s Australian premiere took place at the Regent Theater in Melbourne in February 2023.

The show tells a ‘what if’ story that follows the alternate ending of Romeo and Juliet. Was it a daunting task to write a new story around his one of the most famous plays ever written?

David: I think it would have been difficult if it had been rewritten. Romeo and JulietI think we can all agree, this is a pretty good play.

But this is a whole new play that starts at the beginning of Shakespeare’s classic, spins off in a less tragic direction, and is filled with everyone’s favorite pop songs.

So I’d like to be compared to Shakespeare, but I think the legacy of Shakespeare’s original screenplay is largely intact!

Romeo and Juliet is about the intense love and heartbreak of youth, so why did you combine it with a musical full of pop songs?

David: Yes! So many great pop songs are about young love, and as a result, pop music is sometimes dismissed as light, fluffy and ephemeral.

But after listening to Max Martin’s playlist of songs in the dark over and over again (like me), I was struck by the amount of emotion put into his music and the emotional authenticity behind these pop songs. you will be amazed.

I think that’s what makes his music last and what makes us want to listen to these songs over and over again.

Max once told me that behind a lot of Swedish pop music is a sadness that ‘dances with tears in your eyes’. To me, it’s the exact mix of pure joy and utter despair that makes for a perfect musical. Theater Songbook.

Shakespeare wrote this play over 400 years ago. Was it important for today’s audiences to update the story and themes?

David: After all, a lot has changed in 400 years.

That’s why our creative and design teams worked with the cast to bring a modern sensibility to the Elizabethan classic. You can see that reflected in the sets, costumes, musical arrangements and dialogue (written in today’s language, not Shakespeare). poetry), and, of course, the themes we are exploring in our new story.

Max Martin has a huge back catalog, how did you narrow down the list? Were there any songs you really wanted to play that didn’t make it to the show?

David: Yes! We’ve been developing this musical for six years, and in the process auditioned and discarded dozens of Max’s other hits.

There are about 30 songs that survived the show, and they’re all incredible, but more than that, they all move the story forward.

Max’s catalog could have easily made 10 musicals, but he was ruthless to cut a few of his favourites.

If you live on another planet and have never heard a Max Martin song, come to this show so that you can experience the music as if it were all written for this story. has always been my goal.

Or was it about making a whole new record with Max’s songs?

David: Max was the perfect collaborator.

He hired great people and gave them the space to do their best work. At the same time, I attended every workshop, attended every audition, and most of all worked with music supervisor Bill Sherman to create the most beautiful orchestrations of this show, and the most incredible cast of his albums. .

Beyond that, he’s everyone’s cheerleader and makes us all feel so supported and loved.

I read that when you started doing shows, you went to various concerts of artists who worked with Max and took a crash course in pop music. What did you learn?

David: Yes, Max Martin went to see some musicals (because he had only seen them before). Mamma Mia), director Luke Shepard and I were sent to a number of pop concerts.

We’ve seen Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys, and more. Our musicals don’t quite match pop concerts in terms of spectacle, but we made it our mission to get them pretty close.

There are sequins, things coming out of the floor, and confetti cannons. Theater tickets are expensive! Audiences deserve not only to think and feel, but to be greatly entertained.

I’m sure some of the artists covered have seen the show, are you excited to hear they did? Anyone still wanting you to be on the show? i think i like it…

David: It’s always thrilling. Everyone loves Max and I think it’s fun for artists to see songs reimagined by a cast that really knows how to make each song their own.I’m sure Britney will love it. I hope she will come soon.

Schitt’s Creek has enjoyed great success over the last few years. Will fans of that show find a similar sense of humor and absurdity as Juliet?

David: I think it’s one of the things people enjoyed the most Sitts Creek It was a work that mixed humor and heart. This is the balance I strive for in all my work.

all my friends in the cast of Sitts Creek Juliet and Juliet who came to see me were incredibly kind and complimenting, so I hope fans of the show will have the same experience.

Finally, what is your favorite Max Martin song and why?

David: I love try again, Because it’s the only song Max wrote specifically for this musical. I will never forget the day he first sang for us at the piano and I can’t wait for Australian audiences to discover it.

& JULIET will run from 26th February 2023 at the Regent Theater in Melbourne. Tickets are on sale. through Ticketek.

first published as New Musical & Juliet Marries Shakespeare and Pop Genius Max Martin

& Juliet Creator David West Read Max Martin’s Musical

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