L.A. Theatre Works Celebrates 200th Anniversary of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Now thru 11/18
L.A. Theatre Works celebrates the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice with Christina Calvit's acclaimed stage adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel, returning from the first leg of a 25-venue national tour for five performances, today, Nov. 15-18, at UCLA's James Bridges Theater. There, the production will be recorded in front of a live audience for later broadcast on public radio and SiriusXM Satellite before heading back out on the road.
L.A. Theatre Works touring productions are a hybrid of the company's usual radio theater format and a more traditional staging. In Pride and Prejudice, the actors perform in front of microphones radio-style, but they are fully costumed and rehearsed with no scripts in hand. "The actors are not only in character, they're in costume-weaving around a series of microphones and occasionally donning a new hat or scarf to indicate a change in character… The actors are all top-notch… an excellent way to spend an evening," wrote the RVA News about a recent L.A. Theatre Works performance at University of Richmond's Modlin Center for the Arts.
"This production is a highly theatrical evocation of our radio theater style, "explains L.A. Theatre Works producing director Susan Loewenberg.
A sparkling comedy of manners, Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813. In the town of Meryton, reputation and marriage can secure or destroy a young woman's happiness. Faced with the loss of land and income, Elizabeth Bennet's mother is desperate to secure husbands for her daughters at any cost. When Lizzy is introduced to Mr. Darcy at a local ball, tempers flare as her independent spirit clashes with his unfortunate propensity for arrogance. Can the headstrong rivals overcome their own pride and prejudices to repair the romantic entanglements which surround them and find lasting love?
Brian Kite directs a distinguished cast that includes Jane Carr as Mrs. Bennet and Nicholas Hormann as her husband. Best known as Louise Mercer on the NBC series Dear John, Ms. Carr first traveled to the U.S with the Royal Shakespeare Company's Nicholas Nickleby and was most recently seen on Broadway as "Mrs. Brill" in Mary Poppins; Mr. Hormann's numerous Broadway credits include Harold Prince's The Visit, Love for Love, The Member of the Wedding, Execution of Justice and Saint Joan. Also in the cast are Diane Adair, Chloe Dworkin, Julia McIlvaine, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Darren Richardson, Jill Renner and Nick Toren.
Christina Calvit's acclaimed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice premiered in 1986 at Chicago's Lifeline Theatre, where she is an ensemble member, receiving a special Joseph Jefferson Citation for Outstanding Work. It was subsequently performed at The Stratford Festival of Canada. Calvit has "refreshed" her adaptation for a recent revival at Lifeline. L.A. Theatre Works is currently touring the radio theater version to civic, performing arts and university venues throughout the U.S.
In an interview, Calvit explained that reconstructing the writer's rhythms is key to creating an effective adaptation. "You want to capture the poetry of the moment," she said.
For three decades, L.A. Theatre Works has been the leading radio theater company in the United States, committed to using innovative technologies to preserve and promote significant works of dramatic literature and bringing live theater into the homes of millions. The company's public radio series, featuring stage plays performed by America's top actors augmented by interviews with the artists and others, can be heard in over 100 markets nationwide and can also be streamed on demand at www.latw.org. Over 9,000 libraries carry LATW's plays on audio, and recordings and teaching materials are used by over 2,000 middle and high schools across the country.
Performances of Pride and Prejudice take place tonight, Nov. 15 @ 8 pm; Friday, Nov. 16 @ 8 pm; Saturday, Nov. 17 @ 3 pm and 8 pm; and Sunday, Nov. 18 @ 4 pm. The James Bridges Theater is located in Melnitz Hall on the campus of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, Television at 235 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (enter UCLA from Hilgard just south of Sunset Blvd. and park in Lot 3 on the lower level). Tickets are $49; student tickets are $15 at the door. To purchase tickets, call L.A. Theatre Works at 310-827-0889 or go to www.latw.org.