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Jon Jory's Adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Plays Main Street Theater This Weekend

Main Street Theater presents a staged reading of a new musical adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Jon Jory and with an original score by Peter Ekstrom.

There are two performances: Today, July 18 at 7:30pm and Sunday, July 19 at 3pm at Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006. All tickets are $10; seating is general admission. Tickets are on sale in person at the Main Street Theater Box Office, 2540 Times Blvd., via phone at 713.524.6706, or online at MainStreetTheater.com.

All of the wit and romance of Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel come to life in this refreshingly fast-paced and engaging new adaptation. Finding a husband is hardly Elizabeth Bennet's most urgent priority. But with four sisters, an overzealous match-making mother, and a string of unsuitable suitors, it's difficult to escape the subject. When the independent-minded Elizabeth meets the handsome but enigmatic Mr. Darcy, she is determined not to let her feelings triumph over her own good sense -- but the truth turns out to be slipperier than it seems. In a society where subtle snubs and deceit proliferate, is it possible for Elizabeth and Darcy to look beyond his pride and her prejudice, and to make the best match of all?

Jon Jory's dramatic adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with incidental music by Peter Eckstrom has been produced across the country. Working together, they wanted to expand the piece into a full-scale musical. Main Street's performance will be the first staged reading of the musical, and both Mr. Jory and Mr. Eckstrom will be in attendance on July 18.

As the producing director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Jon Jory directed more than 125 plays and produced more than 1,000 plays during his 32-year tenure. He conceived the internationally lauded Humana Festival of New American Plays, the SHORTS Festival, and the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. He was also the artistic founding director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., and he has been inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Jory has directed professionally in nine countries. In the United States, he has directed productions at many regional theatres, including Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage, San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut, the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey, Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

He has received the National Theatre Conference Award and the American Theatre Association's Distinguished Career Award. For his commitment to new plays, Jory has received the Margo Jones Award twice, the Shubert Foundation's James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, Carnegie Mellon's Commitment to Playwriting Award, and the Regional Theatre Tony Award.

He is currently on the faculty of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from The University of Utah, University of Louisville, and Bellarmine University.

Peter Ekstrom graduated from Antioch College in 1973 and in 1978 traveled down the Mississippi River on a raft with Otrabanda Theatre Co., stopping in two dozen towns from St. Louis to New Orleans to perform a vaudeville show in a circus tent.

His professional career began when Jon Jory of Actors Theatre of Louisville hired him to write music and lyrics to a satirical revue in The Humana Festival of New American Plays. His Matrimonium and Doctors and Diseases (in which he also performed) followed in the next two Festivals. In 1981 he wrote a musical adaption of O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi which ran at Actors Theatre of Louisville at Christmastime for 17 consecutive years as well as being produced by many regional and amateur theatres across the country.

Doctors and Diseases was revived by The Barter Theatre, Virginia in 1997 and subsequently moved to Off-Broadway. Mr. Ekstrom's musical comedy with Steve Hayes, Kiss Me Quick before the Lava Reaches the Village, has been produced at St. Peter's at Citicorp, New York City, The Northshore Theatre on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and in 2000 at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington. With Steve Hayes and David Deboy his musical romance, Girl of My Dreams, has had productions by Musical Theatre Works, New York City, The Barter Theatre, Virginia, and in 2006 The Village Theatre, Washington.

From 2001 to 2004 Mr. Ekstrom wrote and performed weekly with Michael Quinn The Front Page Follies, a political satire revue, at the Cornelia Street Cafe, New York City. For Jon Jory, Mr. Ekstrom has written over a dozen incidental scores for plays from Shakespeare's works to Charles Ludlum's The Mystery of Irma Vep.

Mr. Ekstrom is a member of ASCAP and lives in Chinatown, New York City.

Main Street Theater Artistic Director Rebecca Greene Udden directs the reading. Michael Mertz provides the musical direction. Amy Garner Buchanan (Peace in Our Time, Into the Woods) and Taylor Alan play Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The rest of the cast includes Katie Harrison, Joe Kirkendall, Larry Luck, Sarah Myers, Stephanie Rascoe Myers, Crystal O'Brien, Amanda Parker, Briana Resa, Susan Shofner, and Jonathan Teverbaugh.

Main Street Theater was founded in 1975. The organization currently produces plays at two locations, 2540 Times Boulevard in Rice Village and for the 2014-15 season only, our Theater for Youth is housed at Talento Bilingüe de Houston. Our MainStage is in its 15th season operating under an Actors' Equity Association union contract. The MainStage features new works (including numerous world and regional premieres), rediscovered classics, passionate revivals, works by female playwrights, and neglected musicals in the intimate setting of our Rice Village location. Our Theater for Youth is Houston's most-attended theater for young audiences, serving over 138,000 children and families from the greater Houston area in school performances, weekend family matinees and tours to schools and community centers across the state of Texas. Plays are selected based on literature children are reading at home or at school. Our Education Department offers students a performing arts playground where professional theater artists serve as mentors. In support of Main Street Theater's mission, our Education Department provides a significant resource in the community for education in theater and classical theater for children, families and educators and provides classes and camps (on and off-site) as well as programs in residential treatment facilities for Harris County youth.

Main Street Theater is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for not-for-profit theaters, of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (formerly ASSITEJ), the world theatre network of theatre for children and young people, and a founding member of Houston Arts Partners. MST's MainStage operates under Actors' Equity Association Small Professional Theater contract.


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