Well-Strung a Provincetown Twist on a String Quartet
By: Jeannette de Beauvoir, August 1, 2012
Well-Strung - a singing string quartet that puts its own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Adele. The show is directed by Donna Drake and starring (from left) Christopher Marchant: second violin, Edmund Bagnell; first violin, Daniel Shevlin; cello and Trevor Wadleigh; viola.
The publicity posters make Well-Strung look like four naked boys playing stringed instruments, but don’t let that fool you. This is, after all, Provincetown in the summer.
Well-Strung is an exceptionally talented string quartet, playing and singing everything from Mozart and Vivaldi to Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Played with energy that’s known to break their violin bows—these boys will have you humming all the way home.
The group is the brainchild of Christopher Marchant, who plays the second violin, and the Art House’s Mark Cortale. It was originally planned as a solo show for Marchant, who met Cortale while playing violin on the streets of Provincetown in the summer of 2010.
“I was interested but didn't feel I had much to say on my own, so I began working on a string quartet show,” Marchant recalls.
Well-strung in P-town
Playing Thursdays, Fridays and Mondays at 7:30 PM; Sundays at 8 PM
through September 22, 2012
So he teamed up with cellist Daniel Shevlin, who picked out the classical part of the group’s repertoire, then brainstormed with Cortale and director Donna Drake for a final list that includes pop songs.
This past February they auditioned for a first violin and a viola and selected Edmund Bagnell and Trevor Wadleigh to complete the ensemble.
Love for the music shows
Three of the musicians are firmly rooted in musical theater, but Wadleigh confesses that “I was always in the orchestra pit. This is new to me.” Bagnell laughs.
“I studied violin all my life,” he says, “but then, when I discovered musical theater, I fell in love!”
It’s certainly clear that all four musicians love what they’re doing now.
“I love interacting with all the boys on stage,” says Marchant. “Sharing a glance, a smile, a sneaky look, are just minor things we use to create an interesting dynamic.”
And audiences love them as well. Whether they’re singing harmonies on their version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep (which to my mind beats the original hands down), offering a fabulous strings-only performance of Britney Spears’ Toxic, or drawing the audience in with Mozart and Vivaldi, these guys are good.
Bagnell’s fingers fly across the neck of his violin at the speed of light, Wadleigh offers shy humor to the audience, Shevlin is a consummate performer who can’t get a note wrong, and Marchant provides the glue that holds them together.
“I want people to walk away with a greater understanding of beauty and music,” says Marchant.
“People often isolate themselves from great art because they stick to what they already know and love. I have a love for both classical and pop music and I wanted to show a through-line of beauty between them. Hopefully after the show, people will see both styles as even more worthwhile than they did before!”