Megan Drew Wins Award for Jane Eyre; Bronte on Bway by April 2000?

News   Megan Drew Wins Award for Jane Eyre; Bronte on Bway by April 2000? Child actress Megan Drew, who played the inspiring role of Helen Burns in Jane Eyre at the La Jolla Playhouse over the summer, was given a YoungStar Award Nov. 7 in Los Angeles.

Marla Schaffel as Jane Eyre and James Barbour as Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre.
Marla Schaffel as Jane Eyre and James Barbour as Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. (Photo by Photo by John Johnson)

Child actress Megan Drew, who played the inspiring role of Helen Burns in Jane Eyre at the La Jolla Playhouse over the summer, was given a YoungStar Award Nov. 7 in Los Angeles.

The industry awards, sponsored by Back Stage West and The Hollywood Reporter, focus on young film and TV performers but there are also special honors for stage actors, nominated by southern California critics. Will Rothhaar was also honored with a stage YoungStar for his performance in The Cryptogram at the Geffen Playhouse.

Drew is expected to repeat her Jane Eyre role on Broadway this season. Jane Eyre producer Annette Niemtzow confirmed that she and fellow producers are expecting to open before the end of the 2000 season (by late April), depending on the vacancy of a Broadway theatre.

She told Playbill On-Line that she's had encouraging conversations to indicate Jane Eyre, the John Caird Paul Gordon tuner based on the Charlotte Bronte novel, will find a home in a medium-sized house that's currently occupied.

Despite the intricate and imposing set by John Napier (Cats, Les Miserables), the show would fit perfectly in a 1,300-seat theatre, rather than a cavern, Niemtzow said. Meanwhile, The Music Man, Finian's Rainbow and Martin Guerre are all looking for homes, and have not announced where they will land.

Jane Eyre was a three-hanky hit in its tryout at the La Jolla Playhouse. The final week was sold out. It closed there Sept. 5.

Jane Eyre is drawn from Bronte's 1847 novel of a plain woman falling in love with the mysterious, secretive Rochester in provincial England.

The music and lyrics are by Paul Gordon, with additional lyrics by Caird, who serves as librettist and co-director (with Scott Schwartz).

Previews began July 13 at the La Jolla Playhouse in coastal La Jolla, CA., near San Diego. Jane Eyre will be produced on Broadway by Annette Niemtzow, Janet Robinson, Pam Koslow, Jennifer Manocherian and Alan Novich, in association with Margaret McFeeley Golden.

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Composer-lyricist Gordon's work has been sung by Bette Midler, Amy Grant, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle and more. He wrote the chart topping songs, "Next Time I Fall" and "Friends and Lovers." Caird might be best known for staging Nicholas Nickleby and co-directing and co adapting Les Miserables. His most recent London staging was a fresh adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's Candide.

The La Jolla cast, expected to be the same for Broadway, was led by James Barbour (Carousel, Beauty and the Beast) as Rochester, Marla Schaffel (a onetime Fantine from Les Miserables) as Jane, Mary Stout as Mrs. Fairfax, and Elizabeth DeGrazia as Blanche.