What was the inspiration for one of the greatest plays ever written?

The greatest love story that was hidden from history…


The original new musical Swagger, created by Mark Evan Chimsky and Zev Burrows, is a story of passion, political intrigue, and prejudice that reveals what caused Shakespeare to break the rules – in his life and  art – as he created Hamlet in 1600.

After years of not allowing himself to grieve the death of Hamnet, his eleven-year-old son, Will finally opens himself to the pain of loss when he learns his beloved father is dying.

He stops writing and is only brought back to life by the arrival of a mysterious ambassador from Morocco, Abdul Guahid, one of the first Muslims ever invited to meet Queen Elizabeth I.

The forbidden attraction between Will and Abdul leads to great danger for both men, but in the process they learn to find love – and themselves.

Set against the politics of Queen Elizabeth’s court and the hardscrabble ambition of Shakespeare’s company of players, Swagger is a timely musical that explores the xenophobia that seized Elizabethan England and how love can inspire genius to create something daring and new.

The musical is both a provocative look at a hidden chapter in history and a love letter to the transformative magic of theater.

Exciting news! 

We’re thrilled to announce that, based on our submission of Swagger, composer Zev Burrows and I have been chosen to audit the ASCAP Foundation Musical Theatre Workshop in LA on February 7th and 8th, hosted by Tony, Oscar, and Grammy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz!

The workshop received 200 submissions and we congratulate Michael Gordon Shapiro (The Bully Problem) and Julian Hornik (Tenn), whose musicals have been selected for a critique by Mr. Schwartz.

Our thanks to Michael A. Kerker, Director of ASCAP’s Musical Theatre division!

After the first night’s workshop, I will be hosting a meet-up for attendees and people in the LA area interested in musical theater at Caffé Roma at 10:00 p.m.

Contact me here for more details about the meet-up.

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