Music for Shakespeare

photo by Lee J. Butz

photo by Lee J. Butz

Since 2014, I have collaborated with director Matt Pfeiffer on productions of the plays of William Shakespeare. The unifying aspect of each of these productions has been acoustic, actor-driven sound designs featuring original music - often set to Shakespeare's original lyrics, and occasionally employing original lyrics of my own. 


As You Like It (2017)

"In the final moments of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's transcendent production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It, with tears in my eyes as the cast sang Alex Bechtel's original composition 'A Little Life,' I thought, 'This is the epitome of great Shakespeare.'

Bechtel's arrangements, played and sung live by the cast soulfully support and enhance Shakespeare's poetry." - Marc Cofta, Broad Street Review

"Alex Bechtel has written songs fully in the spirit of the show, with an Elizabethan linguistic flair. He also gives at least one Shakespeare lyric about winter a beautiful melody." - Howard Shapiro, WHYY


A Midsummer Night's Dream (2017)

"The music not only sets a pleasant tone, but Bechtel's song snippets help bridge the 400-year gap between Shakespeare's Athenians and today's audience without replacing, repeating, or one-upping Shakespeare's dialogue." - Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review


Twelfth Night (2018)

"Bechtel composed tunes for Shakespeare's songs and the production's nuanced musical undercurrent, employing actors to play piano, cello, accordion, drum box, tambourine, xylophone, guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. These songs aren’t used as background, but rather as a driving force amplifying the characters' roiling emotions and the play's many moods." - Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review

"Alex Bechtel composes an original score that echoes Orsino’s opening line, 'If music be the food of love, play on.' Just as Cupid fires off arrows willy-nilly, Bechtel’s music has matching caprice." - Hugh Hunter, Philadelphia Inquirer

"A key element to this magic is the music provided by the multi-talented Alex Bechtel. The actor/composer has given new life to the various songs Shakespeare wrote into the piece. Several cast members double on instruments throughout the show, ably performing Bechtel’s wonderful pieces." - Ellen Willson Dilks,