A new West End and Broadway production of Emma: A New Musical is currently being developed by award-winning director Thom Southerland, award-winning playwright Meghan Brown, and Sarah Taylor Ellis, a composer who specialises in musicals about women.
The leading roles will be played by Carly Bawden, Rupert Young and Ashleigh Gray, all of whom are highly accomplished actors from stage and screen, and the cast includes a host of equally impressive performers who have previously starred in the likes of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, 42nd Street and Les Miserables.
Although the musical is still in its early days of creation, and the date of opening night is yet to be announced for both the New York and the London production, it’s a musical with an amazing cast list, and one those of us at the Jane Austen News would definitely like to see. A sneak peek of one of the songs is below:
If you’ve ever dreamt of coming to live in Bath in a period property that oozes Georgian glamour then you’ll love this house.
Known as Queen Charlotte’s Orangery, the house on Sydney Place is a Grade-I listed property of “great architectural and historical significance”. It was originally built in 1812 as an orangery house forming part of the estate of Queen Charlotte (hence the name), wife of King George III.
Bath isn’t short of impressive Georgian houses, but the reason we felt you might like to know about this one is because, unlike many others, it still has an interior which recalls its Georgian roots. Have a look at the pictures below and you’ll see what we mean.
If only we had the £1.9 million asking price to spare…
We might not agree with Clare Church (ok, we definitely don’t agree with her), but she definitely makes her case well in an article on the pop-culture, geekdom and female diversity website, The Mary Sue. In it she argues that the male romantic lead from Little Women, Professor Friedrich Bhaer, is a better romantic hero than Mr Darcy.
Question: What’s more attractive than an intelligent, compassionate, rugged Professor, who has tumbling brown hair, cares for orphans, and loves to hear about your work?
Answer: A rich, rude snob, who despises dancing, scoffs at your family, and calls you “tolerable, but not handsome enough,” behind your back.
Church explains that Bhaer shows more chivalry, intellect and open generosity than Mr Darcy does. She feels that Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship is not an equal one, rather that Darcy holds the power as he has the money and Elizabeth has power only because he cares for her. Conversely Jo March is Professor Bhaer’s equal as she has a job and money of her own and she doesn’t need Bhaer, but wants him, and this makes all the difference.
At the Jane Austen News we can certainly see the good points of Bhaer, but Darcy not intelligent? We can’t agree. Not chivalrous? He is towards the Gardiners when he doesn’t need to be. As for generosity – well, paying for the wedding of a man you hate, and paying him a huge lump sum so that you can save the family of the woman you love is pretty generous…
Still, Church’s article is well worth a read.
It’s rare, if not unheard of, that you come across a book which everyone likes. One person’s favourite novel might well be another’s idea of a hellish read. Of course, the reader might also be an author themselves, which is the case in an article published by Bustle this week, which has a surprising list of author’s most-disliked authors.
Featured critiques were Virginia Woolf’s thoughts on James Joyce’s Ulysses (she compared his writing to “a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples,” and said that, “one hopes he’ll grow out of it; but as Joyce is 40 this scarcely seems likely. . .”), and Truman Capote’s opinion of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (“None of these people [in the Beat Generation] have anything interesting to say, and none of them can write, not even Mr. Kerouac. It’s not writing, it’s typing.”)
No we come to the critique which sits rather closer to home. You might have heard before that Charlotte Bronte wasn’t a big fan of Jane Austen, but if you wondered exactly what it was about Jane that she didn’t like you might like to read it in her own words:
I have likewise read one of Miss Austen’s works — Emma — read it with interest and with just the right degree of admiration which the Miss Austen herself would have thought sensible and suitable. Anything like warmth or enthusiasm—anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works… Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete, and rather insensible (not senseless) woman. If this is heresy, I cannot help it.
We know Emma isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this does seem rather harsh!
It’s often true that a Jane Austen fan has an interest in the Regency and Georgian periods in general. If this is true of you then you might like to know about a new book by Australian author Michelle Scott Tucker, called Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World.
The book tells the story of the first ‘gentlewoman’ to set foot in the colony of New South Wales in Australia. Elizabeth was a well-educated woman who lived in Bridgerule (South West UK) in the 18th century. She was born in 1766 and married army officer John Macarthur in 1788. In 1789 she made the six-month journey to New South Wales, Australia, after her husband joined the New South Wales Corps, and it was here that she and her husband went on to be renowned for their management of Merino sheep, and for the huge production and exportation of wool.
If you like stories of Regency women overcoming tough conditions and prospering in difficult circumstances then you’ll probably enjoy this read.
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