Artistree’s ‘The Twelfth Night Show’ will be hugely funny and accessible to everyone 

Four friends — and some puppets — find that doing Shakespeare is not as easy as it seems

By Sharon Groblicki, Standard Correspondent

Artistree’s Grange Theatre in Pomfret has produced thrilling shows in the past and its upcoming production, “The Twelfth Night Show,” promises to be one of the most exciting ever! It is the premiere performance of a brand-new show that runs from May 4-14. 

Written and conceived by real-life partners Megumi Nakamura and Jacob Brandt, who also make up one half of the cast, this show is sure to please everyone — whether they are Shakespeare lovers or people who are not crazy about Shakespeare but just love a good show.

Nakamura and Brandt collaborated every step of the way in the creation of the show. The book is Nakamura’s work, and the music and lyrics are Brandt’s. It is a musician’s show and was written to star themselves and another couple — Brandt and Nakamura bandmates, Allie Siebold and Seth Eliser. In this musical, there are no extra musicians. The four of them are the musicians, as well as the actors. Brandt’s folk/rock score and lyrics are guaranteed to be enchanting and exciting in the hands of four extremely capable musicians.

We have most recently seen Siebold as Sister Mary Leo, the ballet-dancing nun inNunsense” and before that as Darlene, the Loretta Lynn character in “Honky Tonk Angels” at the Grange Theater. Eliser, Siebold’s husband, played the drums for that production, and the two of them can be seen locally as they perform covers as well as original works as “Allie and Seth.” Eliser was most recently seen in PCLO’s production of “Godspell” and he played Ernst in the world premiere of “Punk Rock Girl.” Both are national and international performers. 

Nakamura, who is Director for this production, is also known locally as having directed and acted in shows for five consecutive seasons at the Weston Playhouse. Nakamura’s partner in real life as well as this enterprise, Brandt, has recently acted in “Dear Edward” on Apple TV and had his music featured on CBS Sunday morning as well as other media. 

The four met in 2017 when working together at Weston Playhouse. And although they all have national and international credits as performers — and Nakamura and Brandt are New York-based as actors and director and musician/composer, respectively — they have caught on as local sensations. This production will be just the beginning of this innovative and charming show with its stunning musical numbers. We will be hearing about “The Twelfth Night Show” in the future and remembering when it premiered in our neighborhood playhouse.

The premise of the show, according to the press release, is that “four of New York City’s finest unemployed actors/self-proclaimed Shakespeare experts [attempt] to put on a one-of-a-kind production of the bard’s beloved mistaken identity romantic comedy.” The group soon finds that doing Shakespeare is not as easy as it seems. 

Nakamura says that the 90-minute production is one-third Shakespeare and two-thirds the story of the actors trying to put on the show. One of the obvious problems, of course, would appear to be condensing the nearly 20 characters from the original script into a work that is performed by four actors. One of the devices they use to switch hats from one character to another is…(drum roll) puppets. Brandt reveals another level of his talents by making and using detailed puppets. This is sure to add another level of humor and enjoyment. 

There are many levels on which this musical can be enjoyed. There is an added layer of “in” jokes for those who know Shakespeare and another one for people who love and understand theater and what is involved in putting on a show. Still another level is for people who have never liked Shakespeare and don’t revere his works. 

The set design is original, pleasant, and sparse. The set pieces consist of musical instruments on chairs and against stools, a drum set, and the set itself is a portico that holds puppets, hats, and other props. There is purposely no embellishment and the sparseness is intentional.

Seibolt is quoted in the press release as saying that this new work is “an actor’s dream and the audience plays a very important role in this process as well.” According to Nakamura and Brandt, the audience participation will occur at a non-threatening level and adds another layer of excitement. 

According to their online bio, Nakamura says that as a director and scriptwriter, they “seek opportunities to honor the artists who came before them while dismantling the systems that threaten to restrict the next generation of artists.” Nakamura says that the accessibility within “The Twelfth Night Show” is a big part of realizing that mission. Nakamura says they grew up in a diverse town (San Francisco) where there were huge differences in opportunities to experience culture and where often English was not the first language. They feel that making one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays accessible to everyone is a step in the right direction. 

Brandt notes that in this musical there is purposely something for everyone to enjoy, and that is its greatest invitation — for each member of the audience to be delighted with, to claim entitlement to, to be surprised by, to find hugely funny, something that is personally theirs. That, the creators insist, is its biggest drawing point. “Anybody who comes to this play will find something that is personally uplifting,” he notes. 

It is easy to catch on to this enthusiasm for taking classical theater and turning it into something new. “The text is ours now,” Brandt concludes. 



The Twelfth Night Show

Thursday, May 4 to Saturday, May 13

Artistree’s The Grange Theatre, Pomfret

Tickets at