Friday, October 21, 2016

Austen's Pride

From author Isabel Azar:
This summer, I had the delightful privilege of attending a performance of the lovely new musical, Austen’s Pride, at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York (the production was part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival's summer season, and my mother and I made the journey from our home down South). It was well worth it; the duo behind the show, Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, have skillfully woven together two riveting narratives, that of the novel itself, and the story of Jane Austen’s creation of it. They’ve been working on their masterpiece for roughly sixteen years now; stimulated by the profusion of Austen adaptations that came out in the late 1990’s, the ladies set about creating something of their own. As part of their research, they went to England and visited Chawton Cottage, Austen’s home, and were inspired to include the author in their show. Since its first performance in 2006, the musical has gone through many changes, and now, Austen has become more than a plot device; she’s a prominent character herself. She propels the play forward, both in her close bond with her sister Cassandra and in her associations with her characters. In the first scene, Jane rushes onstage to tell her beloved sibling that the publishers for Sense and Sensibility want to see more of her work, and together, the pair ponders the prospect of sending the manuscript for a certain First Impressions. Jane is uncertain at first, but with a little nudging from Cassandra, she decides to “give the story a second chance,” and is soon busy with editing her early draft. (Read more.)

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