• Music & Theatre

    It Was a Lover and His Lass

    Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is a #Renaissance piece by Thomas Morley that was likely composed for the original production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.” Two pages sing “It Was a Lover and His Lass” for Touchstone in Act 5, Scene 3. Shakespeare’s plays included a number of songs, but little information about the music used in his productions has survived. Some pieces were popular songs from the period (particularly the dances mentioned), others had lyrics written by Shakespeare set to an existing melody, and some tunes were likely original for each play. Referencing Ross W. Duffin’s excellent book on the topic (p. 221-223 of Shakespeare’s Songbook), this song is likely…

  • Music & Theatre

    Pardon, Goddess of the Night

    Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is my arrangement of Patrick Doyle’s lovely contemporary composition for Shakespeare’s lyrics from Act 5, Scene 3, of Much Ado About Nothing. I composed a tag for the ending, as Doyle’s version does not include the final lines of the text. In the original work, this song is performed by Claudio, but in our production at the Coronado Playhouse, music was performed by Beatrice (Danielle Orner), Margaret (Renee Ulloa-McDonald), and Ursula (me 😉). This is one of the many songs in Shakespeare’s plays for which no original music survives (for excellent reading on this topic, check out Shakespeare’s Songbook by Ross W. Duffin. This song is discussed and…

  • Music & Theatre

    O Sweet Oliver

    Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is a #Renaissance piece from Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It. The character Touchstone sings “O Sweet Oliver” in Act 3, Scene 3. Shakespeare’s plays included a number of songs, but little information about the music used in his productions has survived. Some pieces were popular songs from the period (particularly the dances mentioned), others had lyrics written by Shakespeare set to an existing melody (though the name of the melody often was not included), and some tunes were likely original for each play. When Shakespeare used a popular song, it often communicated an additional meaning – a joke or common reference that period audiences would have well-understood…

  • Music & Theatre

    Al fonte, al prato

    Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is another #Renaissance piece – composed by Guilio Caccini, first published in his 1614 work “Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle.” Linked here is a free download of the sheet music, and this link has the text to all four verses here. I believe I made my accompaniment from a midi file – I’ve shared it below, if you’d like to sing along 😊 For this video, I’ve combined two performances – the first is from the musical pre-show I designed for Coronado Playhouse’s production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” and the second is from my undergraduate senior recital many years ago (I was 18) 😉…

  • Music & Theatre

    The Secret of Happiness

    Happy #WeeklyWednesday! I love this song from the musical “Daddy Long Legs” and really enjoyed making this video – I hope you like it, too!  “Daddy Long Legs” has music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and book by John Caird, based on the charming 1912 novel by Jean Webster (it’s a very sweet read!). You can sing along to the accompaniment I used by clicking here. Thanks to “The Accompanist” channel for the great track! If you like this song, check out “Like Other Girls,” also from Daddy Long Legs 😊 Thank you for watching, and see you next week! #AshleyWagnerArts

  • Music & Theatre

    Come Again (John Dowland)

    Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is a Renaissance piece composed by John Dowland (lyrics anonymous), published in his 1597 First Booke of Songes or Ayres. My performance comes from the musical pre-show I designed for Coronado Playhouse’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  I won awards from both the Coronado Playhouse and San Diego ACT (Aubrey Awards) for my work on and in the show – for sound design, musical direction, and acting (as Ursula/Balthasar)!  It was a wonderful challenge that has inspired a lot of very enjoyable work!   That production was also just incredibly fun to be involved in, particularly because of the dear friends I made from my “By’r…

  • Disney Blog,  Favorites

    Disney Cruise Line blog

    One of the highlights of my theatre career has been performing for Disney Cruise Line. In this portion of my website, I’ve re-shared many of my original posts about that experience. I hope you enjoy them! Not only was it incredible to portray characters I’ve loved since my earliest childhood memories (especially Mary Poppins), for the company who originated our modern concepts of these stories, with all that entails (the creativity, talent, and budget to stage productions in such a lavish and magical way; the ability for these performances to reach hundreds of thousands of guests) — it was a special honor to feel that through my work, I was…

  • Music & Theatre

    Where Did It Go?

    New work by Sarah Hirsch! Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is another demo recording from a new musical still in development: The Book of Holding On, by the incredibly talented Sarah Hirsch! The other fantastic singer you’ll hear is Dana Aber. (From Sarah:) THE BOOK OF HOLDING ON is a drama about a 13-year-old girl who is so terrified of change that she attempts to “freeze the world” by sabotaging all the change happening to her family and friends.  The show explores heavy themes like teenage mental illness (particularly obsessive thoughts) while mixing in lots of humor. I’ve had the privilege of working on several new works (including another of Sarah’s, The Fall…

  • Music & Theatre

    The Bear Who Couldn’t Bear to Bare His Soul

    New work by Sarah Hirsch! Today’s #WeeklyWednesday is a demo recording from a new musical that is still in development: The Book of Holding On, by the incredibly talented Sarah Hirsch! The other fantastic singers you’ll hear are Ben Wexler, Amanda Savan. (From Sarah:) THE BOOK OF HOLDING ON is a drama about a 13-year-old girl who is so terrified of change that she attempts to “freeze the world” by sabotaging all the change happening to her family and friends.  The show explores heavy themes like teenage mental illness (particularly obsessive thoughts) while mixing in lots of humor. (From me:) Some terribly brief context for this song – it’s one of…