Jane Eyre, the musical seen in Toronto two years ago and in Wichita, KS, prior to that, will have two readings Feb. 16 in New York City prior to its La Jolla Playhouse presentation in California in summer 1999.
With music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and a book and additional lyrics by John Caird (Les Miserables), Jane Eyre is drawn from Charlotte Bronte's novel of a plain woman falling in love with the mysterious, secretive Rochester in provincial England.
Insiders suggest this new version of the show is more of a traditional book musical than the sung-through, darkly-designed (by John Napier) production that played the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in late 1996. Technically, its world premiere was at the Wichita (KS) Center for the Performing Arts in December 1995. The show's first post-Toronto staging was to be September 1998 at Tennessee Repertory Theatre, but it did not materialize.
A Toronto cast album had a limited release.
Caird and Scott Schwartz co-direct the Feb. 19 readings and the La Jolla staging, July 13-Aug. 29. It opens there July 25. Marla Schaffel will recreate her Wichita and Toronto role as Jane, James Barbour (Beauty and the Beast) is Rochester, Mary Stout is Mrs. Fairfax and Anna Kendrick (High Society) is Young Jane.
The staged reading presentations (at noon and 4 PM Feb. 19) are by invitation only at a City Center studio in midtown Manhattan.
Jane Eyre has long been promised for Broadway but has yet to announce any definitive dates or theatre.
The 1996-97 Toronto production starred Schaffel (a onetime Fantine in Broadway's Les Miz) and Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman) as Rochester. Schaffel was to repeat her role at TRT.
The Toronto leads played the same roles in the 17-performance world premiere in Wichita, KS, far from the glare of New York media.
Set in early 19th century England, Jane Eyre tells the story of an impoverished governess who learns the painful reason she can't marry her employer, Rochester.