Official cover art
|Basis||William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night|
|Premiere||Hudson Guild Theater, New York City|
|Productions||2002 Off-Broadway, New York City |
2004 Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, New Jersey
2008 Texas Repertory Theatre, Texas
2011 Pittsburgh Playhouse, Pittsburgh
Illyria is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Peter Mills, based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, written in 2002. Illyria is a traditional adaption of Twelfth Night, but features a more contemporary score.
Illyria began as Prospect Theater Company's musical production of Twelfth Night in Central Park in 2001. The company's artistic director Cara Reichel and resident writer Pete Mills then collaborated to create a complete musical adaption. The musical premiered from April 12 through the 28th at the Hudson Guild Theater, New York City.
Feste, a jester, welcomes the audience and introduces them to the world of Illyria and each character featured in the show (“Prologue”). In the midst of his introductions, an intense thunderstorm shipwrecks the twins Viola and Sebastian off of Illyria’s coast. Viola is able to make it to shore, but is unable to find her brother, and assumes he is dead. She decides to take on his identity, reasoning that it would be safer to be a man in an unfamiliar place.
Dressed as Sebastian, Viola begins to work as a servant for Orsino, a Duke who is in love with the Countess Olivia. Orsino sends Viola to ask for Olivia’s hand, but Viola soon realizes she has feelings for Orsino.
Meanwhile, Feste returns to Olivia’s home after spending several years away. He is surprised that Olivia is still mourning for her brother (and Feste’s former master), and takes it upon himself to bring joy back into the household. He lightheartedly mocks Maria about her love for Sir Toby, and brings back an old rivalry with the steward Malvolio. Feste’s efforts to cheer up Olivia work, and she agrees to receive a visitor, Viola. The Countess is quite taken with her, and as Viola leaves to report back to Orsino, Malvolio gives her a gift from Olivia, a ring.
It is revealed that Sebastian has survived the shipwreck, and he enters Illyria with Antonio, the man who rescued him.
At Olivia’s house, Feste, Toby, Andre, and Maria are all annoyed with Malvolio after he gets them in trouble. The four work together to create a plan for revenge.
At the Duke’s palace, Viola and Orsino have a conversation on love. Viola realizes how much she cares for him, but knows she must wait until she can safely reveal her true identity before the two can be together (“Patience”). However, the next morning Orsino discovers the ring that Olivia gifted Viola, and he yet again sends Viola to her home.
Meanwhile, the revenge plan is set in motion as Maria writes a “secret admirer” letter to Malvolio, written to seem as though Olivia sent it. The letter tells Malvolio to dress and act in a ridiculous way in order to prove he loves Olivia back (“The Love Letter”).
Viola, yet again with Olivia, realizes that the Countess has fallen in love with her instead of Orsino. The act closes as Viola, Olivia, and Orsino worry about their seemingly hopeless situations (“Save One”).
The second act begins with Maria’s revenge plan working: Malvolio clumsily flirts with Olivia while dressed in ridiculous yellow socks (“Malvolio’s Tango”). Olivia assumes he has gone mad, and has Sir Toby take him away.
The real Sebastian makes it to the Duke’s palace, and the Duke, assuming that he is Viola, declares his love. Sebastian panics and flees to Olivia’s house, where he is once again mistaken for Viola. Sebastian and Viola end up in an absurd duel with Sir Andrew, which was set up by Maria and Toby (“The Duel”). Olivia rescues Sebastian from the duel and professes her love. Sebastian is confused but accepts.
Malvolio, now imprisoned, begs Feste to release him or at least deliver a message to the Countess. Eventually, through a wild musical sequence, Sebastian and Viola are reunited and all the misunderstandings are resolved. Orsino and Viola are together, Olivia and Sebastian are together, and Toby and Maria reunite as well. Feste and the full cast address the audience and say goodbye (“Finale”).
The score of Illyria is contemporary, and in the style of 1960s off-Broadway musicals.
- 1. Prologue
- 2. Sebastian
- 3. How These Things Start
- 4. Silly Little Syllogisms
- 5. Olivia
- 6. Crossovers/The Ring
- 7. Cakes And Ale
- 8. Patience
- 9. The Man Is Mine
- 10. We Men
- 11. The Love Letter
- 12. Undone
- 13. Save One
- 14. Malvolio's Tango
- 15. Whoever You Are
- 16. The Duel
- 17. The Lunatic
- 18. The Lady Must Be Mad
- 19. Finale
Characters and original Off-Broadway cast
The cast of the premiere 2002 Off-Broadway production: 
- Ames Adamson (Malvolio)
- Rich Affannato (Orsino)
- Kate Bradner (Viola)
- Matthew Alexander (Antonio)
- Sarah Corey (Maria)
- Leon Land Gersing (Sir Toby)
- Arik Luck (Feste)
- Kate MacKenzie (Olivia)
- Jason Mills (Sir Andrew)
- Courter Simmons (Sebastian)
The original cast of the 2008 Off-Broadway production:
- Duke Orsino, Illyria's ruler who is in love with Olivia - Brandon Andrus
- Malvolio, Olivia's full-of-himself steward - Jimmy Ray Bennett
- Sebastian, Viola's naïve and optimistic brother - Mitch Dean
- Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Olivia's comedic suitor - Ryan Dietz
- Viola, Sebastian's passionate and spunky sister who takes on his identity - Jessica Grové
- Antonio, a sailor who rescues Sebastian - Andrew Miramontes
- Feste, a clever jester who also serves as the musical's narrator - Jim Poulos
- Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's lazy uncle who is in love with Maria - Dan Sharkey
- Olivia, a beautiful noblewoman of Illyria - Laura Shoop
- Maria, Olivia's confidante and maid - Tina Stafford
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- Frankos, Laura (2010). The Broadway Musical Quiz Book. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 270. ISBN 9781423492757. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
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- Bruckner, D. J. R. (30 April 2002). "THEATER REVIEW; Shakespeare Set to Music, Song After Song After . ." The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
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- Bruckner, D. J. R. (April 30, 2002). "Theater Review;Shakespeare Set To Music, Song After Song After..." NY Times. NY Times. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
- Lipton, Brian Scott (September 15, 2008). "Full Cast, Creative Team Set for Prospect Theatre Company's Illyria". Theater Mania. Theater Mania. Retrieved 2 August 2017.