Last night at the Ann Arbor District Library actor/director David Blixt said he would be signing his new book, Master of Verona, (St. Martins, 2007) in the Ann Arbor downtown Borders at 7 p.m. July 25. Blixt directs the Scottish play and plays the lead in Michigan Shakespeare Festival's production previewing July 17 and running through August 4 at the Michael Baughman Theater on the campus of Jackson Community College.
Blixt's book is an historical novel that might be described as a sort of prequel to Romeo and Juliet. The reviewer in Publisher's Weekly said: "The precipitous ending, marked with dizzying revelations by the protagonists, do nothing to mar a novel of intricate plot, taut narrative, sharp period detail and beautifully realized characters."
St. Martins has bought a second book in the series; Blixt said the second book will follow the life of young Mercutio.
Also at the library event, Michigan Shakespeare Festival Director John Neville-Andrews said the festival commissioned orginal music for the Scottish play by Ann Arbor composer Stephen Eddins. The production will feature a small percussion orchestra composed of found objects such as a 50-gallon drum, graters and hub caps. Neville-Andrews said the work complements the percussive nature of the language in the play. The production is set in an undetermined past and emphasizes the supernatural aspects of the work. Neville-Andrews promised great swordplay choreographed by Blixt and fight coordinator Christina Traister.
This year's production of Henry V is set in 2007 as directed by Ed Simone.
Neville-Andrews said the festival will produce King John and As You Like It for the 2008 season.