A musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion, published in 1818, and featuring Austen’s favorite and most emotionally and intellectually complex character, Anne Elliot. Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot was “persuaded” to reject the proposal of Frederick Wentworth. As the play begins, Wentworth, who’s risen in the naval service to Captain during the Napoleonic Wars, returns to England. Anne, who still loves Wentworth, is terrified to see him again, and her fears are confirmed when they meet and he’s both cruel and bitter. Eventually, Wentworth reaches a romantic understanding with Louisa Musgrove, and Anne herself is pursued by another young naval officer, Captain Benwick, as well as her sophisticated cousin, William Elliot. These romantic and highly emotional complications continue until Anne and Wentworth finally admit their true feelings for each other.
She Stoops to Conquer
A musical adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith’s classic, madcap comedy of errors, She Stoops to Conquer, first performed in London in 1773. Mr. Hardcastle, the kindly master of Liberty Hall country manor, has arranged for his highly-intelligent and independent-minded daughter, Kate, to meet a distinguished young man they’ve never met – Charles Marlowe. Although well educated and well-traveled, Marlowe is dreading his scheduled encounter with Kate because he has an inordinate fear of upper-class women, although he’s perfectly comfortable with women of the lower classes. When Marlowe and his best friend arrive at Liberty Hall, thinking it’s a public inn, the terrified Marlowe is unable to even look at Kate and acts like a perfect fool. But Kate, mostly on instinct, seems to sense some “worth” in her bumbling suitor, and when she learns about his “comfort” with lower-class women, she decides to disguise herself as a lowly barmaid and thus “stoop to conquer.” As the various mistaken identities and zany “secret” sub-plots continue, Kate and Marlowe fall in love.
A musical about Christmas Eve, 1818, when the song “Silent Night” was first written. As her father is about to compose the melody for “Silent Night,” nothing is going right in the life of seventeen-year-old Theresa Gruber. Her mother, in bad health, is about to give birth, and Theresa’s boyfriend, a mysterious French soldier and secularist, is involved in a dangerous political intrigue. As everything seems to go horribly wrong in her life, Theresa struggles to sustain her faith and resolve her romantic feelings.
(Book and lyrics by William Baer; music by William Baer and Andria Sittig.)