Jon Crispin's Notebook

The Willard Suitcases at The American Shakespeare Center


(That’s me in the middle with the actors.)

I have written before about Julianne Wick Davis’ song cycle based on my Willard Suitcases Project photographs.  The piece recently had its premier at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA and I was lucky enough to be in the area on Saturday evening to catch a performance.  Here is a link to Broadway World’s piece on the production.  Here is another write up in DC Metro’s Theatre Arts section.  I am sure there will be more reviews coming in the next weeks, and if you are interested just do a search for “Willard Suitcases Julianne Wick Davis”.

I was totally blown away by Julianne’s music and by the ASC’s production.  Ethan McSweenys’s direction was perfectly respectful of my work on the project, and of the patients featured in Julianne’s songs.  It was a really emotional evening for me, and if any of you live in the area (including DC, which is only a few hours away) please make every effort to see this before it closes on the 1st of December.  Staunton is a lovely town, and the ASC is remarkable.

I am so proud to have been an inspiration to Julianne and Ethan, and I am grateful for their sensitivity to the Willard patients whose suitcases make up the collection.

3 Responses

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  1. Katie said, on 15/10/2019 at 5:44 pm

    So very exciting. So thrilled for everyone involved, including the patients at Willard and their families.

  2. Joel Dugan said, on 18/02/2020 at 3:42 pm

    I organized a group of 7 and we drove from Richmond, VA up to Staunton for a November week on a Roads Scholar seminar. We saw two Shakespeare plays at the American Shakespeare Theater: Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Very good plays in every way. The last play was the Willard Suitcases. All of us were BLOWN away with this performance!! The music, the libretto, the acting and the story. Don’t miss it if I comes again. My wife and I liked it so much, we bought tickets and drove up to Staunton to see the last show of the season, and with our having seen it before, we knew what to look for and it was twice as good. I’m watching for the new performance anywhere, but I prefer the Blackfriers in Staunton.

  3. joncrispin said, on 18/02/2020 at 4:59 pm

    Joel. Thanks so much for your comment. I too was blown away by the performance. I saw it twice. Both were amazing. All best. Jon

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