Broadway actress and Rochester native Donna Lynne Champlin has been cast as Jane Austen in the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Ms. Champlin will participate in the October 21 performance event at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York.
From the press release:
“How absolutely thrilling, not only to originate this wonderful role at the prestigious Eastman Theatre, but to do so in my hometown for family, teachers and friends – I’m ecstatic,” says Champlin, a Greece Athena High School and Hochstein Music School alumna who now has a very successful Broadway career.
Champlin made her Broadway debut in James Joyce’s The Dead, followed by the Alan Ayckbourn/Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, By Jeeves, which earned her enthusiastic reviews. National raves for her portrayal of a Carol Burnett in Harold Prince’s Hollywood Arms proclaimed her a “show-stopping star in the making.” In her most recent Broadway turn, Champlin played “Pirelli” (and accordion, flute and piano) in John Doyle’s groundbreaking revival of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Her performance in William Inge’s The Dark At The Top of the Stairs earned her the prestigious 2007 Best Actress OBIE award.
The October 21 event in Rochester is in part a hometown celebration for the musical that was written by two Rochester, NY women, Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs. Although Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The New Musical is targeting a Broadway opening more than a year later (November of 2009), this concert performance will feature a 17-piece, on-stage orchestra made up of members of the prestigious Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and a 22-member cast from New York.
Attentive Gentle Readers will remember that producer Lori Bajorek told us in an interview that the cast of the Rochester event will be held over for Broadway if schedules allow. Tickets for the event are $35-75 and available by calling 585-232-1900 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
If you’re wondering what Jane Austen is doing as a character in her own book, the play begins with Jane Austen working on her rewrite of First Impressions, and throughout the play she interacts with the characters, with sometimes poignant and sometimes hilarious results. If you want a taste of the music, check out “Not Romantic” from the Music page at the play website; that’s Jane Austen explaining to Lizzy why Charlotte Lucas accepted Mr. Collins’ proposal.