Monday, 27 October 2008

Pride and Prejudice- The new musical

I received this months addition of Jane Austen's Regency World magazine and was very excited to see that there has been a one-night launch of a Pride and Prejudice musical at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York on October 21.

The show, written by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs who discovered their love of Jane Austen 8 years ago, is aiming to open on Broadway in November 2009.
The recent production was directed by Mark Lamos, a Tony award nominee, and he is also going to be directing the Broadway show.

The musical was originally premiered at The Ohio Light Opera in summer 2006 and directed by Steven Daigle.

Below is an extract of one review taken from the Broadway site:

Our culture's fascination with this story and its romantic ideology is well established and well deserved, but given its widespread goodwill, the opportunity to create a piece that tells that story "differently" could very well lead to audience malcontent. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first heard about this piece. On one hand, I thought "good idea if done right" and on the other hand I thought "this could be tragic". Well, last night proved that the concept for this new piece is strong and has some serious legs. Despite being about a half hour too long in the first act, the piece holds together well with a robust score, here beautifully played by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, some really memorable melodic tunes, the heart warming story, a talented cast, and the dynamics of the imagination. The convention of Jane Austen writing the actual story of Pride and Prejudice along with us watching the development of the plot and characters are cleverly intertwined. Jane addresses the characters and the characters address Jane -sometimes asking for certain plot points to happen or relating their disdain for their prescribed fate. The convention is well used and provides an imaginative view into the creation of the characters and their story. The first half of the first act uses the convention sparingly and perhaps too sparingly, but the rest of the piece accelerates the interactions. I enjoyed the convention because it consistently reminded you that the story came to life from her imagination and heart - choices, love, hope, society, etc.
Overall, the concert was a success and as with the quality of the material and the talented cast, it might be said, in native Rochesterian Susan B. Anthony’s own words, that “failure (was) impossible”. I am well aware that the piece needs additional work, but with some well thought out edits and structure changes, this homegrown piece may just find its way to the great white way.

Sounds very positive indeed. Let me know if any of you grabbed the opportunity to see this delight.

For more info, click here

Pic: Taken from Sept/Oct 20008 (Issue 35) Jane Austen Regency World magazine (the official magazine of the Jane Austen centre, Bath, UK)

Update 30 October 2008:
Click Pride and Prejudice Broadway for the official site of this production (thanks Bilbo for the tips!)


bilbo said...

I found an 'official' web site for the P&P musical on one of the postings in your broadwayworld link. It is:
The site has lots of details of the musical, including four songs in mp3 file format. I've just listened to one so far, and only once, so I haven't formed an opinion of the songs.
It would be great if this musical succeeds & moves more people to read JA.

Icha said...

Sorry for the late response, but thanks a lot Bilbo for the tips. I've updated the link. I think the opening flash song is lovely, and I hope it will turn out well!