Jane Eyre: The Musical

By Ian Bishop - © 1999

For two days only, Jane Eyre: the Musical is being presented by Music theatre of Wenatchee at the Riverside Playhouse. On July 30th and 31st at 8 pm you can attend a free showing of the new musical, though donations are appreciated. The play is based on Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre. This is a premiere showcase for this new work. The script and lyrics are by local artists Rebecca Thompson and Kari Skousen. The music is composed and arranged by Bill Kilpatrick.

Jane Eyre is set in the early 1800's beginning when Jane is young. Kayli McCallister plays the young Jane who is strong willed but tormented by her aunt, played by Colleen Bowen. Jane is sent away by her aunt to a boarding school were the headmaster mistreats her. When Jane (played by Miranda Welsh) is older, she leaves the school to take a job as governess at Thomfield.

Jane Eyre contains some of the best music and lyrics in a musical. Songs like, "I Am An Arrow" show Jane's determination to better herself. Rochester (Johnathan Shuffield) has an amazing voice and acting ability. His song "Just Like A Woman" is a tribute to dealing with the stubborn independence in Jane's attitude. With the song "Begin Again" he ponders whether or not it would be possible for himself to love again. Songs like "One Love, Two Hearts" and "Never Before" are duets between Jane and Rochester, and have the ability to stop the show and bring tears to your eyes. Jim Hunt plays four different roles in this production, with Mr. Brocklehurst and Mr. Wood being some of his best work.

Since the play is a work in progress, some of the scenes were not presented. To continue the story line, they used a voice over narration, which will be changed in the final product. You don't have to be a fan of the novel, or even have read it, to come and enjoy Jane Eyre.