• 35-minute musical play for grades 5-12+
  • Includes the script, teacher's guide, and audio recording (which contains a vocal and instrumental version of each song)
  • Simple to do - no music or drama experience needed!

This show answers every question everyone has ever had about Shakespeare.

Well, maybe it doesn't quite do that. But it does touch on many cool aspects of Shakespeare's life, Elizabethan London, and plays and theater. Most of the titles of Shakespeare's plays are mentioned (often in humorous contexts), and there are dozens of quotations from Shakespeare, including extended passages from Othello and Romeo and Juliet (and a fractured description of A Midsummer Night's Dream). It's a perfect introduction for students and audiences to the real thing!

Please scroll down to read the script, listen to the songs, read reviews, and get all the details about the play (plot, curriculum/content, educational standards, and vocabulary).

Item # Description Availability Qty Break Price Quantity
PLAY - For individual teachers or directors
Order 1 copy of play for each teacher/director who will be using it. Includes permission to print/photocopy for all participating actors. Mix and match 2 or more plays to get them for $35 each.
SHAK-PL-DIG
Downloadable Version of Play
- You will receive a PDF and MP3 files
Instant Download 1
2+
$45.00
$35.00
SHAK-PL-PRI
Printed Version of Play
- You will receive a Spiral-Bound Book and Audio CD
In Stock 1
2+
$45.00
$35.00
SITE LICENSE VERSION OF PLAY - For whole schools or grade levels
Order 1 site license per school/site. Includes permission to print/photocopy for all participating students AND teachers. Why a site license? Because it's cheaper than ordering 3+ individual copies of the play.
SHAK-SL-DIG
Downloadable Version of Site License
- You will receive a PDF and MP3 files
Instant Download 1 $90.00
SHAK-SL-PRI
Printed Version of Site License
- You will receive 3 copies of the Spiral-Bound Book and Audio CD
In Stock 1 $90.00
Extra/Replacement Audio Recordings
SHAK-AU-DIG
Downloadable Audio Files
- You will receive a ZIP file containing individual MP3s
Instant Download 1 - 9
10+
$12.00
$6.00
SHAK-AU-PRI
Audio CD
In Stock 1 - 9
10+
$12.00
$6.00
Sheet Music
SHAK-MU-DIG
Downloadable Sheet Music (PDF)
Instant Download 1 $12.00
SHAK-MU-PRI
Printed Sheet Music
In Stock 1 $12.00

$0.00

Key Concepts

Shakespeare Unshackled reinforces students' famililarity with:

  • Shakespeare's life
  • the nature of theatrical productions (actors, staging, audience, especially as regards the Old Globe Theatre)
  • acting companies and patronage
  • Elizabethan and Jacobean London
  • structure and style of plays
  • sources
  • the canon

Shakespeare Unshackled is a great complement to your curriculum resources in elementary, middle and high school language arts. And, like all of our plays, this show can be used to improve reading, vocabulary, reading comprehension, performance and music skills, class camaraderie and teamwork, and numerous social skills (read about it!) -- all while enabling students to be part of a truly fun and creative experience they will never forget!

(For more Shakespeare goodness, also see our play Macbeth, the musical Comedy.)


Publication Information

Author: Ron Fink (Composer) and John Heath (Book and Lyrics)
ISBN: 978-1-886588-39-4
© 2007 Bad Wolf Press, LLC

Song Samples

Full Song List

1. Shakespeare Unshackled
2. The Wacky World of England
3. No Women
4. Phrasemaker
5. At the Globe
6. Words Are All You Need
7. No One Cares 'bout History
8. Too-Rah-Loo-Rah-Aye
9. Shakespeare Unshackled (reprise)


Casting

Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Media Consultants, Groundlings, etc. as desired.
One student can easily play several roles if needed. Note that
all roles can be played by either boys or girls; see our comments
on page 31 of the Teacher's Guide.

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:

Professor
Otto (Teaching Assistant)
Agnes (resident of Stratford-upon-Avon)
Lionel (friend of Agnes)
Mrs. Smith (teacher of Shakespeare---not)
Manager of The King's Men
Anne (frustrated actor)
Sara (Anne's friend)
Student in audience
Ben Jonson(poet & friend of Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare (you know)
Poets (jealous rivals of Shakespeare)
Hailey (Teaching Assistant)
Richard Bourbage (actor in King's Men)
Groundlings (lower-class theater-goers)
Spectators (higher-class theater-goers)
Media Consultants (marketing gurus)
King James I (King of England)
Attendant (servant of King James)
and a CHORUS comprised of all students who are not
playing roles on stage at the time.

  Song 1 - Listen now!

ENTIRE CLASS (faces audience and sings):
Shakespeare Unshackled
Shakespeare 101
Gonna study hard about the bard
We're gonna learn a ton.

Shakespeare Unshackled
Gotta be a whiz
(pointing to audience at the word you)
This applies to you 'cause when we're through
There's gonna be a quiz.

Let's go back to merry England
In the sixteenth century
What a thrill to chat with Will
And share share share share a cup of tea.

PROFESSOR (steps forward out and addresses audience):
Actually, tea wasn't introduced to Britain until the
seventeenth century.

MEMBER of CLASS: That's the Professor. She
knows EVERYTHING.

CLASS:
Shakespeare Unshackled
Background to the plays
Grab the ink and quill and just ask Will
We're gonna all get A's!

Shakespeare Unshackled
All you need to know
Get your booster shots and set the clocks to
Four hundred years ago.

Let's go back to merry England
When Will Shakespeare was about
Oh how keen to meet the queen
And get get get get a little gout.

PROFESSOR (spoken): Gout is no laughing matter.
King Henry VIIIth suffered terribly.

STUDENT: Our professor even knows stuff about
royal toes!

CLASS:
Shakespeare Unshackled
Shakespeare 101
Gonna study hard about the bard
We¹re gonna learn a ton.

(CLASS exits or sits down. PROFESSOR and OTTO step
forward to audience.)

PROFESSOR (to audience): Welcome. I'm Professor
Hammitup, your guide to Shakespeare's life and times.
And this is my teaching assistant, Otto.

OTTO (very dramatically):
O perjured woman! Thou dost stone my heart,
And mak'st me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice.

PROFESSOR (to audience): Otto takes Shakespeare very seriously.

OTTO: I SAW the handkerchief.

PROFESSOR (to OTTO): So, it's Othello today?

OTTO: Out, strumpet! Weep'st thou for him to my face?

PROFESSOR: That's enough now.

OTTO: Down, strumpet!

PROFESSOR: Otto!

OTTO: Oh, sorry, professor. I'm a method actor.

PROFESSOR: Not now. Come along. We've got a class to teach.

OTTO: Where are we going this time?

PROFESSOR: Sixteenth-century England. Stratford-upon-Avon,
a little village 100 miles from London, to be exact. April, 1564.

OTTO: Shakespeare's birthplace!

PROFESSOR (to audience): I've always found it much
more exciting to VISIT history rather than just
read about it.

OTTO: Me too! Let's get going!
(back to dramatic speech)
I have but an hour
Of love, of worldly matters and direction,
To spend with thee. We must obey the time.

PROFESSOR: We only have 20 minutes, Othello.

OTTO (happy): I'm down with that.

(TWO sixteenth-century Englanders, AGNES and LIONEL,
come on stage.)

PROFESSOR: Ah, here are two villagers from Stratford-upon-Avon.

OTTO: Whew! What's that smell?

AGNES: Oh, you must've caught a whiff of Lionel here.

LIONEL: It ain't my fault. I took a bath just last month.

AGNES: That wasn't a bath. You fell in the river.

LIONEL: Same thing.

PROFESSOR: Could you tell us where the Shakespeares live?

AGNES: John Shakespeare, the glove-maker?
(pointing)
Over there, on Henley Street. His wife Mary just had
their third child. William.

LIONEL: That kid will never amount to anything.

AGNES: You think he'll be a thief?

LIONEL: Or a pickpocket.

AGNES: Or a lawyer!

LIONEL: Or worst of all...

AGNES and LIONEL: A POET!

AGNES: Life in England is tough these days---
it's no place for poets.
(sings)

  Song 2 - Listen now!

Things are topsy and they're turvy
We've got plague and we've got scurvy

LIONEL:
There are chickens in the kitchen and my bed is one big flea

AGNES:
It is noisy and it's smelly
And there¹s nothin' on the telly

LIONEL:
In the wacky world of England in the sixteenth century.

AGNES:
We've got aches and we've got twitches
That were given us by witches

LIONEL:
We've got Catholics versus Protestants and there's no referee

AGNES:
We've got plots and we've got treason
Looks like it's beheadin' season

LIONEL:
In the wacky world of England in the sixteenth century.

AGNES and LIONEL:
Oh in the wacky world of England in the sixteenth century.

AGNES, LIONEL, and CHORUS:
In the wacky world of England
The stars control our fate
Though my life is a disaster
My horoscope is great!

AGNES:
Queen Elizabeth's our ruler
And there ain't nobody cooler

LIONEL:
She sent Francis Drake around the world to see what he could see

AGNES:
Spain's Armada was a baddy
But she said "Now who's your daddy?"

LIONEL:
In the wacky world of England in the sixteenth century.

AGNES, LIONEL, CHORUS:
Oh in the wacky world of England in the sixteenth century.

(THEY exit.)

PROFESSOR: We don't know much about Shakespeare's
childhood or youth.

OTTO: We do NOW, Professor! I found Shakespeare's
third-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith.

(OTTO steps over and escorts the elderly
MRS. SMITH to center stage)

MRS. SMITH: I remember young Will very well. That
boy could certainly twirl a baton. His tap dancing
routines were marvelous. And the way he could
juggle poodles---three at a time! Such a fine young man.

PROFESSOR: Are you sure you're talking about William Shakespeare?

MRS. SMITH: WILLIAM Shakespeare? Oh, sorry. No. I don't
remember him at all. I was talking about his cousin Buster.
(SHE EXITS)

PROFESSOR (gives OTTO a glare, then speaks again to audience):
In 1582, when he was just 18 years old, he married Anne
Hathaway an older woman.

OTTO: By 1592 Shakespeare was in London earning a living
as an actor and playwright, without his wife and children.

PROFESSOR: London in the 1590s. Professional theater is
flourishing. Between outbreaks of the plague, of course,
and the censorship of the Master of the Revels.
(MANAGER appears)
Here's a manager of one of the theater troupes. He's
looking for a new actor.

MANAGER (to audience): The trouble with actors is
that they all want to get paid. It's an incredible nuisance.

(ANNE and SARA enter; SARA is holding a piece of paper)

ANNE (to SARA): There he is!

MANAGER: Oh no. Not them again.

ANNE (to MANAGER): Aren't you the manager of The Lord
Chamberlain's Men?

MANAGER: And what if I am?

SARA (waving the piece of paper): Well, we've seen your
ad for an actor. And we've come to apply. We want to
work with Shakespeare.

MANAGER: Look, I told you last time. And the time before
that. You two can't be actors.

ANNE: Just because we're women?

MANAGER: Acting is no job for a lady. It's constant
performances: 5-6 afternoons a week, maybe 200 a year.
Traveling out of town when there's an outburst of plague.

SARA: Don't give us any of this "weaker sex" stuff.
You let teenage BOYS be actors.

MANAGER: It's not my decision. It's ILLEGAL for women
to act on stage.
(Takes the ad in his hand from SARA, points to it)
Didn't you read the fine print?

  Song 3 - Listen now!

MANAGER:
No women
It says right here
No women
The law is clear
No women can take up the acting art.

No women
Upon the stage
No women
Of any age
A teenage boy will play the woman's part.
A teenage boy will play the woman's part.

SARA and ANNE:
A boy plays Cleopatra now?
I'm telling you that's weird
And Juliet will wake one day and have to shave her beard?!

No women?
That really stinks.
No women?
That's wrong, me thinks
The dumbest thing I think I've ever seen.

No women!
Now hold the phone
A woman
Is on the throne
We can't come act but we can be queen?
We can't come act but we can be queen.

MANAGER:
In Shakespeare's As You Like It
It all gets out of hand
A boy will play a woman who pretends to be a man!

MANAGER and HALF of CHORUS:
No women

ANNE, SARA, and OTHER HALF of CHORUS:
No women

MANAGER and HALF CHORUS:
It says right here
No women
ANNE, SARA, and HALF CHORUS:
No women

MANAGER and CHORUS:
The law is clear
No women can take up the acting art
A teenage boy will play the woman's part.

MANAGER: ANNE and SARA:
A teenage boy will We can't come act but
play the woman's part. we can be queen.

(THEY exit. BEN JONSON walks on stage. HE notices the
audience, stops and addresses them.)

JONSON: Oh, hello. You here for the Shakespeare thing?
I thought so. I'm Ben Jonson.

STUDENT in AUDIENCE (shouts out): How do you spell that?

JONSON: Jonson. J-O-N-S-O-N.
(to audience)
I love it when they take notes.

STUDENT: How come there's no H in Jonson?

JONSON: No H? Umm, I don't know.

STUDENT: It looks weird without an H. I'm gonna
write it with an H.

JONSON (to audience): It's my fate. I'm a famous
playwright too. A good friend of Will's. But most
of the rest of us other Elizabethan authors seem
to get forgotten in the sands of time.

SHAKESPEARE (entering, holding a quill and piece of paper):
Ben! Ben, I need your help.

JONSON (to audience): Ah, here's Shakespeare now!
(to SHAKESPEARE)
Will! Tell me, friend, what can I do for you? An honest
tale speeds best, being plainly told.

SHAKESPEARE: Hey, that's good. "An honest tale speeds
best, being plainly told." Let me write that down.

JONSON: What's the problem?

SHAKESPEARE: It's my new comedy---I can't come up with
a title. I have not slept one wink in nearly two weeks.
This was the twelfth night.

JONSON: I'm sure you're making much ado about nothing.

SHAKESPEARE: The whole production has been a comedy of errors.

JONSON: Sounds like a tempest.

SHAKESPEARE: I'm afraid all my love's labor's lost.

JONSON: Stop worrying so much. You'll figure it out.
Just title it any way you like it.

SHAKESPEARE: As I like it, eh?

JONSON: As you like it. As long as it has a happy
ending it'll be fine.

SHAKESPEARE: You're right---all's well that ends well.
Sometimes I feel this huge burden, like every word has
to be great.

JONSON: Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great,
some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust
upon them.

SHAKESPEARE: That's another good one! Mind if I use it?

JONSON: What are friends for? My nature is full o' the
milk of human kindness.

SHAKESPEARE: Hey, you want to come see the rehearsal?

JONSON: I'd love to Will, but I'm meeting two gentlemen
of Verona over at the merchant of Venice---we're going
dancing with the merry wives of Windsor. I'll catch the
first performance, though.
(exits)

SHAKESPEARE: Thanks, Ben!
(to audience)
Great guy, Ben. Spells his last name a bit funny, though.

(from off-stage shouts are heard)

POET #1: There he is! There's Shakespeare!

POET #2: Get him!

SHAKESPEARE: Oh no! It sounds like poets! They're always after me.
(to audience)
Parting is such sweet sorrow. But I gotta fly!

(SHAKESPEARE races off in opposite direction as POETS
run on from other side of stage)

POET #1: He got away again!

POET #2: I HATE that guy!

POET #1: You know how hard it is for us poets to come up
with any new expressions with Shakespeare around?

POET #2: Every time we think we've coined some clever
new phrase, it turns out Shakespeare got there first.
It's so annoying.

  Song 4 - Listen now!

POETS:
"Elbow room" and "catch a cold"
"All that glitters isn't gold"
How many phrases can just one guy make?

"Heartsick" "leap frog" "fancy free"
"One fell swoop" "it's Greek to me"
He made up "goodness' sake," for goodness' sake!

CHORUS:
Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

POETS:
He's a phrasemaker

CHORUS:
Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

POETS:
He's a phrasemaker
Got that golden touch
Got that golden touch

CHORUS:
The lady doth protest too much!
She doth protest too much!

ONE of POETS (male): Hey, who you calling a "lady"?!

POETS:
"Love is blind" "the game is up"
"Laughing stock" "ay, there"s the rub"
That "green-eyed monster" has me you can tell.

"In a pickle" "flaming youth"
"Break the ice² and ³naked truth"
They're "household words"---but that's his phrase as well!

POETS and CHORUS:

Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo
He's a phrasemaker
Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo
He's a phrasemaker
Got that golden touch
Got that golden touch

CHORUS:

The lady doth protest too much!
She doth protest too much!

(POETS exit. PROFESSOR and HAILEY enter.)

PROFESSOR (to audience): Hello, class. I hope you enjoyed
meeting Shakespeare. Oh, and this is my other teaching
assistant, Hailey.

HAILEY (to audience, very properly): Hello.

PROFESSOR: I haven't seen Otto. I shudder to think what
he may be doing, running around London in 1599.

OTTO (runs across stage, shouting dramatically): A horse!
a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
(exits)

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

Overall Customer Rating:
Customer Reviews: 1

Briggs Middle School, Springfield, OR

Rating:

Pros:
Cons:
Fun and Educational!

My 7th grade drama class performed this musical, and it was a big hit with students and parents alike. So nice to have a play in which all students can shine with some dialogue and ensemble singing! The play was humorous and the songs catchy, plus this play had a ton of information about Shakespeare and his times. You know a play is successful when the students are still talking about it and singing the songs throughout the following years. Also really appreciate having the rights to be able to tweak the play to suit my class and stage.



Additional Comments and Reviews:

"It was amazing! Our production pulled students together as well as the parents."

---Gina Anestos, Teacher (5th/6th grade), Hollywood Beach Elementary, Oxnard, CA


"Everyone loved it and kids loved the catchy tunes. They especially liked the song 'At the Globe.' We wore dark sunglasses when we performed that song!"

---Colleen Rowles, Teacher (5th grade), St. Joseph School, Placentia, CA


"We used this production to learn more about Shakespeare. Your song melodies and lyrics are catchy and most are humming the tunes well into the summer. Your plays allow for verstility and are fun to do for both teachers and students."

---Rita Stolt, Teacher (PK 4 - 8th grade), St. Paul Lutheran School, Bloomer, WI


"Kids enjoy the songs and their lines were very age appropriate. The parents were very pleased with the subject matter."

---Carol Wallace, Teacher (6th grade), Sims School, Elk Grove, CA


"I absolutely loved it. The songs are upbeat and the tunes catchy. The script was well-written and funny.""

---Machelle Rogers, Teacher (6th grade), Rosamond Elementary, Riverton, UT


"My initial reaction to the play was not very positive. However, when I introduced it to my class, I began to realize what an excellent teaching opportunity I had. My students really got into it and began asking questions and doing research on Shakespeare's plays. They wrote and added their own explanations at certain parts and even wrote their own rap song to include."

---Susan Calise, Teacher (8th grade), Our Lady of Guadalupe School, Brooklyn, NY

Common Core and Other National Standards

Language Arts

History/Social Studies

Fine Arts

  • National Music Standard 1 for 5th-8th
  • National Theater Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th, Standard 2 for 9th-12th

Vocabulary

Stratford-upon-Avon
King James
Richard Bourbage
Spanish Armada
Francis Drake
Christopher Marlowe
Lord Chamberlain's Men
groudliings
Queen Elizabeth
Ben Jonson
The King's Men

General Vocabulary:

bard
bonkers
nuisance
gout
booster shots
plague
troupe
method actor
coined
playwright
rehash
fine print
"Who's your daddy?"*
"hold the phone"*

*We have some fun with a few anachronistic phrases in our musical. In this we follow the model of Shakespeare himself, famous for his many creative "errors."

Number of questions: 0

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Wolf Products and Licensing

How does your pricing and licensing work?

A: In short: each teacher/director using the play should have a copy of it. That's it! Your purchase gives you the right to use the play with as many classes as you wish, to photocopy the script for your actors, and to put on as many performances as you wish. This one-time purchase gives you a lifetime license. See below for more information on site licenses (for 3+ teachers or whole schools).

Q: What comes in the package?

A: Every musical play comes with the script and a 12-page Teacher's Guide that provides lots of tips and advice for using the play from start to finish. It also includes the audio recording for the play, which has all the songs both WITH and WITHOUT vocals. Sheet music is NOT included with the basic package, but it is available for $12. Extra/replacement CDs are also available for $12.

Every non-musical play comes with the script and the 12-page Teacher's Guide.

Q: I'm just one teacher putting on a play. If I use the play with multiple classes, do I have to purchase multiple licenses?

A: No! Your purchase gives you a lifetime license to be used with as many actors and classes as you wish. If other teachers/directors wish to use the play as well, they will need to purchase their own licenses.

Q: Do I need to purchase scripts for students?

A: No! Your purchase includes permission to photocopy the script for your actors.

Q: What is a "site license"? How do I know if I need one?

A site license is the economical choice when a whole school or grade level wants to put on the same play. Instead of each teacher/director having to purchase a script, the school/site can purchase a site license. This comes with three copies of the play (or one digital download) and permission to make copies for any additional participating teachers, as well as all the actors. You do NOT need to purchase both a site license and individual copies of the play; just buy one or the other.

Q: I understand that I can get two or more scripts for $35 each. Do they have to be the same play?

Nope! The discount applies whether you are purchasing multiple copies of the same show or single copies of multiple shows.

Q: What is the difference between the printed and digital versions? Which one should I get?

There is no difference in terms of content. The printed version of a musical play comes with an audio CD in a plastic sleeve in the back of the book. The digital version comes with two downloadable files: the script (PDF format) and the songs (individual MP3 files compressed in ZIP format). The advantage of the digital version is that you will not pay shipping and you can start using it instantly. Please read the question following this one about the technical requirements for digital files.

Non-musical plays are available in the form of a printed book or a PDF file.

Q: What are the technical requirements for the digital version?

  1. You will need to have Adobe Reader (free) or another software application that can open PDF files.
  2. You will need to be able to open ZIP files. The vast majority of computers should be able to do this without difficulty. If you wish to download the music directly to your phone or tablet, you will need to download an app that will open ZIP files. Many free ones are available.
  3. You will need to have some kind of audio player (such as iTunes or Windows Media Player) that will play MP3 files.

Advanced technical knowledge is not required; but please note that we do not have the ability to offer technical support for issues related to digital files. If you are unsure, it is probably best to stick with the printed version.

Q: What is your return/exchange policy?

A: Bad Wolf proudly offers a 100% guarantee. You can always exchange a product for another or get a full refund. No time limits, no questions.

Q: Is it OK if I edit the script?

A: Yes! Consider the play to be a jumping-off point. You are always welcome to change or omit anything that doesn't work for your class, administration, or parents. You are welcome to rewrite lyrics, lines, or jokes -- or add your own! (The kids love doing this, by the way.)

Q: How long does shipping take?

A: We say that you should allow for one week within the U.S., but most orders are shipped the same day and arrive 1-3 days later. International orders usually take around two weeks to arrive.

Q: Do I need to pay any performance royalties?

A: As long as your admission price is less than $5 per ticket, you never need to pay performance royalties with a Bad Wolf show. If you decide to charge more than $5 a ticket, or if you are using one of our plays for a PAID workshop, camp, assembly, etc., pay only a low 1-2% royalty on gross revenues. See our royalty page to view the rates and pay.