Arizona Theatre Company presents the Arizona Premiere of "Jane Austen's Emma" a new romantic musical comedy that brings Jane Austen's masterpiece to life. "Jane Austen's Emma" plays at the Temple of Music and Art and runs from December 1, 2012 – December 22, 2012. It continues its run in Phoenix at the Herberger Theater Center from December 31, 2012 – January 20, 2013. "Jane Austen's Emma" is sponsored by Shirley Estes. ATC's season sponsors are I. Michael and Beth Kasser.
In this timeless love story, the beautiful and clever Emma takes pride in her matchmaking abilities but is so preoccupied with the romance of others, shefails to realize that she is clueless when it comes to her own feelings about love. The path to true love is never smooth so, when she takes on the challenge of helping her hapless friend Harriet, her well-intentioned efforts misfire, leading to a whirlwind of comical complications and ultimately, the man of her dreams.
Tony Award-nominated composer Paul Gordon brings Jane Austen's charming classic to musical life with songs that are "cleverly woven throughout" and "enhance the story in wonderful ways" according to Variety. San Diego Union Tribune called it "A musical that's a total pleasure" and StageSceneLA said, "Sparklingly tuneful, witty, and romantic as all get-out, Jane Austen's Emma is a musical dream come true."
The leading role of "Emma" will be played by Anneliese Van Der Pol, who is recognizable to younger audiences for her starring role in the successful Disney show, "That's So Ravan" as Chelsea Daniels.
"It is a thrill to be working on this musical masterpiece with Paul Gordon," said Stephen Wrentmore, director and associate artistic director, Arizona Theatre Company. "Paul has a deep and empathetic understanding of theatrical storytelling which complements Austen's trademark genius in creating wonderful characters that reveal the truth. The ideas and vivacity of the classic fiction, "Emma," leap from the page and across generations, making this novel that's two centuries old, feel fresh, relevant and alive. Co-directing with David Ira Goldstein, we are blessed with a cast and design team of extraordinary ability. We are excited to bring this glorious piece of theatre to Arizona audiences."
Paul Gordon (Book, Music and Lyrics) was nominated for a 2001 Tony Award for his score to the Broadway musical "Jane Eyre." He won the 2011 Ovation Award for his score to "Daddy Long Legs" and the 2007 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for his book to the musical, "Jane Austen's Emma." First developed at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, "Jane Austen's Emma" has gone on to have productions at The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where it won The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Musical in 2011. "Daddy Long Legs," written with John Caird, had its world premiere at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, California in the fall of 2009, and its unique rolling tour has had 15 productions throughout the country. It opened at the St. James Theatre in London in November of 2011. His other works include "Analog and Vinyl, Death: The Musical," "The Sportswriter," and "Little Miss Scrooge," written with John Caird and Sam Caird, which will have its staged concert premiere this Christmas at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, California. "Being Earnest," written with Jay Gruska, will have its world premiere at TheatreWorks in April of 2013.
Stephen Wrentmore (Co-Director) first came to Arizona Theatre Company as an Associate Director with The National Theatre's production of "Hamlet" and later returned to direct "Copenhagen" and "Macbeth." Currently celebrating his second season as Associate Artistic Director at ATC, he has also directed "The Great Gatsby" and numerous performances for ATC's Café Bohemia; later this season he will direct "Freud's Last Session" and Café Bohemia's "War of the Worlds." Highlights of Mr. Wrentmore's directing career include, in the United Kingdom, Howard Barker's "Wounds to the Face and Picasso's Women" by Brian McAvera, "Bedevilled" by Richard Hurford and "Loveplay" by Moira Buffini. He was Artistic Director of the Byre Theatre in Scotlandfrom 2004 to 2007; productions include "Not About Heroes," "The 39 Steps," "The Twits," "Translations," "Private Lives" and "Vincent in Brixton." In Russia, he directed "The Cripple of Inishmaan," "Far Away" by Caryl Churchill at the Meyerhold Theatre in Moscow, and "Theatre5" in Omsk. In Pristina, Kosovo, he directed "The Vagina Monologues" and "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" at The National Theatre, and at The National Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, he directed "The Country" by Martin Crimp. Other projects include directing, teaching, studio readings and masterclasses in Norway, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Denmark, USA, Ireland, and Cyprus. In 2008, Mr. Wrentmore worked with Tate Galleries in London and spent 2009 as a visiting academic at Hertford College, Oxford.