Long Beach Playhouse Stages MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY
The holidays are upon us filled with good cheer and family traditions. What better family to spend some time with than the Bennets from Pride and Prejudice? Lamenting a shortage of new plays for the holiday season, playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon decided to take on the challenge. The story begins two years after the conclusion of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as the Bennet family gathers at Pemberley, the home of Elizabeth and her husband, Mr. Darcy. Mary, the quiet, bookish sister, has grown tired of watching her sisters' romantic escapades and has yet to find a beau of her own. Into this family gathering walks Mr. Darcy's cousin Arthur, a bumbling bookworm, who could be the perfect match for Mary.
Gunderson and Melcon came up with the idea for Christmas at Pemberley on a road trip. They mapped out the plot as they drove. Melcon said they felt American theater needed a new, and different, holiday play. When they pondered the reason that theaters rely on well-known holiday was the familiarity of the characters. They decided the way around that problem was to write a new play using familiar and beloved characters. Both of them were fans of Jane Austen and wanted to infuse their new play with Austen's wit, sly insults and take-downs. The result is this charming play that weaves romance with the amusing dynamics and inevitable bickering of any family gathering. In a nod to the controversies of 1815, they introduce the newest holiday accouterments of the time, the Christmas tree.
"The playwrights perfectly capture the wit of Jane Austen," said Madison Mooney, Playhouse Executive Director. "In the two years since Elizabeth's marriage to Mr. Darcy, Mary has grown from a shy girl to more confident - and sassy - woman. Despite her livelier outlook, her family sees her as the forever spinster. She gets to prove them wrong."
"This play is a perfect beginning to the holidays," said Sean Gray, Artistic Director for the Playhouse. "It's charming, filled with wonderful costumes and a beautiful set. But it's more than just charming - it also touches on issues like gender equality and balancing duty with personal satisfaction. The script gives the director and actors plenty to work with as they decide how best to tell the story. It's perfect for families and a lovely way to welcome the holidays."
The director is Phyllis Gitlin and this play is her 37th production for the Playhouse. She recently directed the Playhouse production of Lauren Gunderson's Silent Sky and last year's production of My Fair Lady. During her 40 year career, Ms. Gitlin has directed more than 300 plays and taught in numerous venues. Presently she teaches acting at Orange Coast College.
The eight-member cast is a mix of returning favorites and debut performances. Making their debuts are: Gabi Jones, Briana Christine, Timothy Voytek, and Alicia Samuel. Returning actors are: Michael Kaye, Nori T. Schmidt, Micah Lee, and Sabrina Sonner.
The show opens November 2 and runs through November 30.
SPECIAL EVENTS FOR THIS PLAY:
Pay what you can Thursday October 31 - community can see this production for whatever they can afford
Two for One Preview Friday November 1 - Tickets are $10.00
Opening Night Champagne Reception with cast on November 2 - Tickets are $27.00
Friday: Adults are $20.00, Seniors $18.00, and Students $14.00
Saturday and Sunday: Adults are $24.00, Seniors $21.00, and Students $14.00.
Tickets are available at www.lbplayhouse.org, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.
Photo Credit:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Mike Hardy