Play On showcases not only the vocal ability of Paul McLaney, but also his skills as a composer and features Esther Stephens, Julia Deans, Maisey Rika, Ria Hall, Laughton Kora, Mara TK, Andy Keegan (Drums), Richie Pickard (Bass) & Jessica Hindin, Mahuia Bridgeman-Cooper & Rachel Wells (The Black Quartet).
In April 2016, award-winning musician Paul McLaney assembled an all-star musical cast to perform Play On at Auckland’s Pop-up Globe Theatre. The sell-out show saw a collection of Shakespeare’s most well-known soliloquies performed as a song cycle by some of NZ’s most talented vocalists.
Following on from the show’s success, McLaney and the cast undertook a series of recording sessions and the result is Play On – 11 tracks setting some of Shakespeare’s most famous words to music for the first time.
Across 11 tracks, Play On sees McLaney’s diverse musical experience applied in yet another new way, creating music around lyrics that are over 400 years old.
“The idea was born of a conversation I had with Ian Mune while I was touring the 'Diamond Side' album. He suggested that there was something 'madrigal-esque' about my guitar style, and asked had I ever looked at the songs or sonnets of Shakespeare. The conversation moved very quickly to the idea of bypassing those and looking at something that hadn't been done; the great soliloquies.
We all hope the approach we have taken with the repertoire might be an invitation to his work for those who think it’s not for them, and perhaps another angle on the genius of Shakespeare for those who already know and love his work. All of these pieces really came to life when the musicians all came together and lent their considerable talents. I think everyone's performances illustrate the deep feeling we have for the words of Shakespeare. It’s intoxicating really.” – Paul McLaney