The new website for Pride and Prejudice, A Musical, has some new demos for quite a few of the songs in the play. Click on the link to the song to be taken to a page that will automatically play the music and give information about the story the song is telling as well as the actors performing. There are some new pieces and some changes to old pieces. For those of you who have not been able to see a performance of the play, here is the next best thing! The demos feature several of the performers from the one-night performance in Rochester, so after the cut are some photos from that performance with these performers to enhance your listening pleasure.
The Broadway-bound P&P musical adaptation by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs is now on track for a Spring 2010 Broadway opening–because it is looking like autumn 2009 will see the show in a regional production to get everything set up for Broadway. (Mr. Bingley will be taking possession by Michaelmas!) Details are not yet known but we will pass them on as soon as we hear. In the meantime, a video of images from the special performance in Rochester, New York, last year (read the Editrix’s review) set to a live recording of Laura Osnes as Elizabeth Bennet and Donna Lynne Champlin as Jane Austen in a duet of “Had I Been in Love” has been posted on the website.
You must excuse the Editrix; she seems to have a bit of dust in her eye. *sniff*
(And Kitty, you time your coughs ill; have a little compassion on our nerves!)
As our Gentle Readers seemed to enjoy the last set, we asked for even more photos from the P&P musical concert performance in Rochester last month!
Wheeee! We received some more photos from the concert performance (actually the dress rehearsal) and thought we would share! Photos after the jump…mouse over for captions and click for larger versions.
(Mouse over the photos for captions and click on them to see larger versions.)
Pride and Prejudice is, indisputably, Jane Austen’s most famous novel. (Fear not, we won’t use the Truth Universally Acknowledged bit.) When attempting to explain one’s obsession to the Great Unwashed, if the name “Jane Austen” is not sufficient for enlightenment, the title Pride and Prejudice almost always brings recognition. If the listener associates the title with Hollywood productions rather than the novel, well, that is the unfortunate part of being a 21st-century Janeite. Really well-done adaptations being thin on the ground at present, it rather increases our pleasure to encounter a quality production such as Pride and Prejudice: The New Musical. We (really we, the Editrix and fellow AustenBlogger Allison T.) attended the “concert performance” preview of the play at the gorgeous Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York, this past Tuesday night, and even in its current developmental phase, it was as lovely and enjoyable as we had hoped and expected.
Possibly even more so, as we had been told the concert performance would include minimal costumes and props. However, the cast was in full costume, the play was blocked out, there was choreography, there was a 17-piece orchestra from the Rochester Philharmonic, and though some of the cast members carried scripts, they rarely actively read from them, using them more as a backup. It was hard to believe such an accomplished performance was put together in only two weeks, though perhaps we should have had more faith in the cast of professional actors, most with Broadway experience.
Rehearsals have begun for the one-night encore performance of Pride and Prejudice, A Musical Play, in Rochester, New York, on October 21. Producer Lori Bajorek shared some photos of the leads, Colin Donnell and Laura Osnes, rehearsing together. Click on the photo for the full size version.
We also finally have started to sort through our photos from the AGM and have some photos from the presentation below the cut.
Laura Osnes, winner of Grease: You’re the One that I Want! and star of Grease on Broadway, will play Elizabeth Bennet in the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Laura will participate in the one-night-only October 21 performance event at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York. The other roles have been cast as well; Alert Gentle Readers will recall that producer Lori Bajorek told us in an interview that cast for this event will be retained for the Broadway production, targeted for November 2009, if schedules permit.
From the press release:
Producers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The New Musical announce that Laura Osnes (Grease!, winner of Grease: You’re the One that I Want!) will play the role of Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet in the Broadway-bound musical’s one-night-only performance at Rochester’s historic Eastman Theatre on Tuesday, October 21. Osnes joins previously-cast Donna Lynne Champlin (Sweeney Todd, Hollywood Arms, By Jeeves) as Jane Austen and Colin Donnell (Jersey Boys, Follies) as Fitzwilliam Darcy.
“I am so honored to join this terrifically talented cast and play one of literature’s most feisty yet beloved young heroines,” says Osnes, who recently completed a year-long run as “Sandy” in Broadway’s Grease!, after winning the hearts of voting viewers of NBC’s reality competition, Grease: You’re the One that I Want! She will also star in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway: Three Generations on October 2 -5, before starting rehearsals for Pride and Prejudice on October 6.
Osnes’ fellow alumna and finalist in Grease: You’re the One that I Want!, Juliana Ashley Hansen (Saved, The Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Nat’l Tour) has been cast as her sister Jane Bennet, while Mark Blum (Twelve Angry Men, The Graduate, Desperately Seeking Susan) and Patty Goble (Curtains; The Woman in White; Kiss Me, Kate) will play the parents of the five Bennet daughters. Anne Letscher (Fiddler on the Roof), Molly Ranson (August Osage County) and Jacque Carnahan (The Baker’s Wife) will round out the Bennet family as Mary, Kitty and Lydia respectively. Jim Stanek (Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals), fresh from Signature Theatre’s ACE, will play Mr. Collins, John Behlmann (Journey’s End) has been cast as Mr. Wickham, while Rory O’Malley (Happy Days: A New Musical) has the role of Jane’s suitor, Charles Bingley. Patty Goble’s dual role includes that of Lady Catherine as well as Mrs. Bennet, and Jennifer Waiser (The Pirate Queen) will play Lizzy’s friend, Charlotte Lucas.
The rest of the ensemble, playing the numerous characters in Austen’s beloved novel, include: Sarah Dacey Charles (Les Miserables), Jonathan Michie, Kat Palardy, Jon Reinhold, Matthew Schneider, Michael Scott (Follies, 110 in the Shade, Showboat), Libby Servais, Eric Ulloa and Marguerite Willbanks (Beauty & the Beast).
Tickets for the October 21 event are $35-75 and available by calling 585-232-1900 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
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.
We had a great chat with Lori Bajorek, the producer of the musical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, written by Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, that will open on Broadway sometime next year. We attended a reading of the show last year; we went in curious, hopeful, wanting something great but still skeptical (it’s not like we’ve never been burned by a Jane Austen adaptation before) but were completely won over by the fun, funny, intelligent show, which is not just Pride and Prejudice but includes Jane Austen herself as a character. Jane discovers the rejection letter she received from Cadell for First Impressions, and decides to work on the book and try to get it published. She interacts with the characters, giving them direction but letting them tell the story. It’s a lovely, complex play, thankfully not a bit dumbed down, with beautiful music and memorable songs. We’re pretty excited about the idea of this going to Broadway, so we were also really excited to speak with Ms. Bajorek and hear her passion for the project. (Click on the photos for larger versions)
What attracted you to this play?
I’ve been friends with Amanda for ten years and I’ve watched her on this journey of writing it. When I went to see the show when it was produced by the Ohio Light Opera, I met a man who had been there three times. The last show was sold-out and standing room only, and I said, “I want to be part of this.”
Were you a Janeite before you became producer of this play?
I would not consider myself to be a Janeite, but I have a deep respect for people who are Janeites. Everybody I meet either is or knows somebody who is in love with this novel. My background is marketing, and I started to do research to find out why so many people liked Jane Austen. One out of a hundred would be good, but I found it was more like one out of two knew the novel. I didn’t realize what an icon Jane Austen was. I read the book in high school and never revisited it. When I decided I was going to do something with the show, I needed to quickly find out who was who in the story, so I rented Bride and Prejudice. I fell in love with it. My mother-in-law is a Janeite and has read the book about 17 times. She has every adaptation. I handed her the script and asked her, “Are we on the right track?” and she said she liked it. I didn’t have enough knowledge to base upon when there were so many people who knew more about it. I asked them, “Tell me what you think,” and they said we captured the essence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There are a trillion adaptation of this beloved novel, but this one was special.
I’m not a Janeite but I’m a woman who understands what it’s like to try to do something outside the box, and I became more obsessed with the Jane Austen character being a writer and trying to make decisions on her own, and having her novel rejected and then deciding to go ahead and work on it again and try again to get it published. If you get to the core of what makes a woman a woman and what makes Jane Austen an icon is that she went against the odds and did something amazing, though nobody was out there being her supporter, she was able to create a masterpiece that still exists today. She’s brilliant. The world needs to know that this was not an author who just wrote amazing love stories, this is a woman who was a pioneer, and that’s what inspires me about this play.
Broadway Mouth reviews the original soundtrack of the 1959 Broadway musical adaptation of P&P called First Impressions.
In studying the OBCR, it’s not fully easy to say where the show might have gone wrong. The book is by the talented Abe Burrows, and, according to Filichia, is “a much wittier book than has been alleged, with incisive dialogue and characterizations,” though in Coming Up Roses: The Broadway Musical in the 1950s, historian Ethan Mordden asserts that Burrows attempted to re-write Jane Austen, which was not a wise choice (for the record, since the production rights are licensed by Samuel French, the libretto can easily be purchased online or, I’m sure, from the Drama Book Shop). Whichever the case may be, the cast recording fails to ignite the heart or romance of the story.
Despite these problems, the Broadway Mouth ends the review with:
Still, when another Austen show reaches Broadway, I want the CD.
We can’t help you out with the CD, but there are a few songs available on the Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice MySpace page…and a little bird has told us that the Bennets might be treading the boards as soon as next year! (And the writers, Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, will be at the JASNA AGM in Chicago this October, where they will talk about the process of putting the play together, perhaps with some scenes and songs included.)