Cast Set for New Musical Emma, Penned by Jane Eyre Composer Gordon

News   Cast Set for New Musical Emma, Penned by Jane Eyre Composer Gordon After musicalizing Jane Eyre, composer Paul Gordon now tackles the tale of another literary lady in the world premiere of his musical Emma at TheatreWorks.

The Palo Alto, CA, company first presented the work as part of its 2006 Spring Festival of New Works and will launch a full-scale production Aug. 22-Sept. 16 (with an official opening Aug. 25) at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

TheatreWorks founding artistic director Robert Kelley — who helmed the previous staged reading — returns to direct.

Lianne Marie Dobbs (A Little Princess, My Ántonia,) will star as the titular heroine opposite Timothy Gulan (The Frogs, The Lion King) as Mr. Knightly.

"Endowed with wealth, good-looks, and prestige, 19th century ingénue Emma Woodhouse prides herself on her matchmaking skills," reads a show announcement. "Having engineered one successful marriage, she turns her attention towards making a match for her new protégé. Despite her obsession with romance, Emma is clueless to her own feelings and her well-intentioned efforts often misfire, leading to a whirlwind of comic complications and, of course, true love."

Dobbs and Gulan will be joined by Brian Herndon (The Elephant Man) as Mr. Elton, Dani Marcus (Beach Blanket Babylon) as Harriet, George Ward (On Golden Pond) as Mr. Woodhouse, Suzanne Grodner (The Rose Tattoo) as Miss Bates and Travis Poelle (Dessa Rose) as Frank Churchill. Also featured in the company are Richard Frederick, Danielle Levin, Mindy Lym, Sean Patrick Murtagh and Nick Nakashima. Gordon penned the music, lyrics and book for Emma, which was also seen at the 2006 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Festival in New York. The composer was nominated for a Tony Award for the 2000 Broadway musical Jane Eyre. Other credits include Greetings From Venice Beach, Daddy Long Legs and The Magnificent Ambersons. He has also written for such recording artists as Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Alanis Morrisette, Smokey Robinson and Dionne Warwick.

The TheatreWorks 38th season will next offer Matthew Burnett's adaptation of Thornton Wilder's Theophilus North (July 18-Aug. 12) and continues, following Emma, with William Gibson's Golda's Balcony (Oct. 3-28), William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Nov. 28-Dec 23), Wendy Wasserstein's Third (Jan. 16-Feb. 10, 2008), Kathleen Clark's Southern Comforts (March 5-30, 2008) and Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's Caroline, or Change (April 2-27, 2008).

Tickets for Emma at TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center, 500 Castro St. (at Mercy), are available through (650) 903-6000 and online at theatreworks.org.

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