A musical based on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility?
Makes perfectly sensible sense
By Sylvie Drake
There is an undeniable fascination with the works of Jane Austen that has propelled itself into some strong film and television adaptations of many of her novels. These range from Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice (many versions) to Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Emma and Sense and Sensibility, her first published novel.
Remarkable? Not entirely. There are good reasons. These 19th-century novels resonate in any age because they were the elegantly written soap operas of their day—and we’re all in love with love—at any age and in any age.
Now comes a first: a musical version of Sense and Sensibility. While several stage adaptations of Austen’s works have been attempted, “It’s the first time that a musical of Sense and Sensibility has been done on this scale,” said Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the director of Sense & Sensibility The Musical, adding, “I do try to keep up with everything Jane Austen.”
A packed house of 500 patrons just saw the final reading at our 2012 COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT. Based on the novel by JANE AUSTEN, with Book & Lyrics by Jeffrey Haddow and Music by Neal Hampton, SENSE & SENSIBILITY THE MUSICAL was a lovely conclusion to our three-day new play festival.
If you haven’t seen the interviews, please tune in to get a glimpse at what happened during this extraordinary event:
BRUCE K. SEVY, Director of New Play Development, Denver Center Theatre Company
Mark your calendar for next year’s Summit Feb 8-10, 2013.
Our second day of readings (more if you are in a cast) wrapped up with the world premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s THE WHALE. Read last year during the COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT, this new, riveting play was recently extended for an additional week.
This moving play about a man who has dealt with adversity by eating his way to the brink of death, had the 250-person crowd riveted. Determined to reconcile with his estranged daughter and sacrifice his own health so that he can leave her all that he has, this play is what the Summit is all about - development, hard work and dedication to the craft of playwriting.
Tomorrow the Summit concludes with brunch followed by a reading (or shall we say singing) of SENSE & SENSIBILITY THE MUSICAL by Jeffrey Haddow and Neal Hampton. Jane Austen fans - be ready!
The second day of the COLORADO NEW PLAY SUMMIT had our 100 artistic team members actively engaged in five hours of rehearsal. The casts and crews of Lisa Loomer’s HOMEFREE and Richard Dresser’s THE HAND OF GOD had an “on stage” rehearsal when they worked in The Jones and The Ricketson theatres respectively.
Meanwhile, the casts and crews of Jeffrey Haddow and Neal Hampton’s SENSE & SENSIBILITY THE MUSICAL, MIchael Mitnick’s ED, DOWNLOADED and Lauren Feldman’s GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING were rehearsing in our cleverly named (and painted) Yellow, Purple and Orange rehearsal studios.
But you might be wondering what happens on these days. While directors SAM BUNTROCK (Ed, Downloaded), MIKE DONAHUE (GRACE…), PAM MACKINNON (The Hand of God), MARCIA MILGROM DODGE (Sense & Sensibility) and JUSTIN ZSEBE (Homefree) work with the actors on bring the script to life with tone, inflection, dialect, etc., the playwright spends a lot of time listening, gauging and refining.
Then lines are cut, dialogue is added, scripts are changed, copies are made and the whole process begins again tomorrow in preparation for the weekend’s public readings.
And then there’s tonight - a time for the participants to see plays that went through this same process last year and are now being fully produced by our DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY: THE WHALE by Samuel D. Hunter and TWO THINGS YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT AT DINNER by Lisa Loomer.
Then there’s a little food and drink to connect, refresh, reminisce and anticipate what the coming days will bring.