Home life for the five Bennet daughters is punctuated by visits from military officers, card parties, and the occasional ball - pastimes guaranteed to throw them into the path of potential husbands, much to the delight of the garrulous Mrs Bennet and the horror of her quietly despairing husband. A local assembly sees the arrival in the neighbourhood of the wealthy and single Mr Bingley and of his aloof, handsome friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy…
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen's timelessly precious gift-that-keeps-on-giving will continue to delight and inspire the world for as long as there is a world. The story will soar on, beyond every form of media we humans can devise--which is why author Josie Brown and I were moved to make a musical of it, a humbling experience which demanded of us the best, and then some. While others have tweaked, twisted and revised the tale to make it theirs, we aspired to keep it authentic, as if Jane herself decided to add songs. And the sweet audiences at our Ruislip Operatic Society, UK world premiere in November seemed to approve. Happy Anniversary, Jane, and thank you from the bottom of our millions and millions of hearts.
Of all my writing accomplishments, no one project has touched my heart more than the musical I've created with Rita Abrams. My love for Jane Austen's words are second to none. The opportunity to bring this particular story to life is an honor. For part of your celebration, please feel free to click onto these song samples -- and the full songs, too! -- below!
IN BANNER PHOTO:
Lizzy Moss as Jane Bennet; Brittany Anne Law as Elizabeth Bennet
IAM Theatre Production.
IN SIDEBAR PHOTO:
Brittany Anne Law as Elizabeth Bennet; David Crane as Fitzwilliam Darcy
IAM Theatre Production
27 November 2012 - 1 December 2012,
by the Ruislip Operatic Society, London, England.
SAN FRANCISCO 2016 PRODUCTION - IAM THEATRE - PRESS
So many things to admire, from the wit, bite and insouciance of Rita Abrams' lyrics to her command of the musical forms that make the piece take wing and soar. The gorgeous Changing World ensemble (and then the differently shaded reprise) were especially fine.
The song, Being Married, is a dry martini of double meaning. The production’s wonderfully, darkly charismatic Darcy (David Crane) won the night with his showstopper delivery of his moving torch-song ballad. The transporting final chorus brought the garden-growing end of Bernstein’s Candide to mind. And plenty of other delights along the way." —Steven Winn, former theatre critic, The San Francisco Chronicle
“Abrams and Brown are to be commended for their faithfulness to Jane Austen’s text keeping the plot line intact with lyrics that complement the story and instill much needed humor to palliate the oppressive mores of its time. It is an auspicious and ambitious beginning with the 17 member cast in full 18th Century costumes that is carried through the entire evening, sharing the text and dancing with songs that range from music hall ditties to romantic ballads and even a show stopping tango. Abrams’ lyrics are often a joy to hear, proving she has not lost her touch that was highlighted years ago in the revues FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS and NEW WRINKLES. The construction of the play, the marvelous plethora of songs, and the descriptive social mores found in Jane Austen’s novels create a potentially successful professional stage life. To steal a quote, 'This musical has legs'.” —For All Events
“(The musical) skillfully articulate the novel’s early 19th century mores and morals, and lively, dense verbiage, which the writers lovingly retain. It’s truly an ensemble piece, from the funny opening “Welcome to Our Neighborhood” (which introduces the five unmarried Bennet sisters with the amusing invitation, “It would be our greatest gift if we / could facilitate your felicity — especially if you’re as wealthy as you look, sir”) to the sentimental closing “I Wish You Joy!” (One fan in the audience even teared up at the inevitable unions between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy and Jane and Mr. Bingley.) The show’s biggest drama comes in a power ballad by David Crane as Darcy (after he’s rejected by Elizabeth), and Brittany Law as Elizabeth, as she comes to terms with her complicated feelings toward Darcy. —San Francisco Examiner
“…The songs are often funny and occasionally surprisingly bawdy…Brown’s adaptation conveys the gist (of the novel) fairly and effectively, and gives some sense of Austen’s sly humor, accentuated by the more whimsical drollery of the musical numbers. In true romantic comedy fashion, these elements initially seem like an odd match but gradually come together into what feels almost like a natural pair." —Marin Independent Journal
"Rita Abrams' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE songs are catchy, entertaining and, in the case of the ballads, touching. She has captured the period flavor in both music and lyrics, and given the score just the right gloss. The tunes shimmer with an inviting appeal, and it's clear that the Abrams-Brown production has the right "sensibility" for Austen and her characters. It's a great beginning to what should evolve into a winning show."
—Gerald Nachman, Theatre Critic and Author of Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s
"Emmy award winning songwriter Rita Abrams has managed to bring her considerable powers to Austen's Pride and Prejudice in a way that brings that classic work alive, and keeps us thoroughly engaged as we listen to the catchy and compelling lyrics embodied in her delightful and wonderfully enchanting melodies. The songs are a triumph of inventiveness and skill, and display the abundant talent of this rich and original, gifted songwriter."
—Michael Krasny, Host of NPR's Forum (KQED, San Francisco) and Author of Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life
"Witty, tuneful, and very sophisticated."
—David H. Bell, Helen Hayes Award-winning Director for THE HOT MIKADO
"This musical does not disappoint. When I listened to the musical I was entranced and I wanted to know more about its creators. I am a music buff and attend many concerts and Broadway musicals. From my perspective, I would pay to see this production."
—"Ms. Place" of the Jane Austen's World blog
Feel free to sample excerpts from sixteen of the nineteen songs. Some of the songs below are complete, as indicated. Just click onto the song titles. Enjoy!
-- Rita Abrams and Josie Brown
Song 1: A Pleasant Little Life
(Click song title above to hear it sung by the cast)
The rustic and humble little English country town of Meryton has rarely been visited by the wealthy and prestigious.
Song 2: Welcome to Our Neighborhood
(Click song title above to hear it sung by the cast)
The arrival of the rich and highborn newcomers Charles Bingley, sister Caroline, and friend Mr. Darcy, has the town in a hubbub—especially the single ladies and their mothers!
Song: 3 It's A Truth
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Bingley, Darcy and Caroline)
Darcy and Bingley banter about the pressures on single men--particularly wealthy single men--to marry. But while Darcy is disgusted by it, Bingley's attitude is more benign--perhaps because he is already in the throes of enchantment with one of the local beauties, Jane Bennet.
Song 4: Five Daughters
(Hear it sung by Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet, with their daughters)
Though the Bennet parents love their girls, Mr. Bennet has a decidedly more cynical view of them—and their prospects.
Song 5: Assembly Ball Buzz
(Click song title above to hear it sung by the cast)
The guests at the town’s Assembly Ball are abuzz with the appearance of the party of Mr.Bingley—and with his increasingly obvious attraction to the eldest Bennet sister, Jane. However, Darcy and Caroline Bingley are less enthralled with the locals~to say the least.
Song 6: A Husband
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Mrs. Bennet, with her husband and daughters)
Jane's invitation to the Bingley mansion, Netherfield, thrusts her mother into a fevered frenzy of orders and plans for making her eldest daughter into Mrs. Bingley.
Song: 7 Changing World
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Bingley, Jane, Elizabeth and Darcy)
To her mother’s delight, Jane is confined to Netherfield by illness. Elizabeth visits her there, where the voices of Bingley, Jane, Elizabeth, and Darcy entwine in separate soliloquies of their various heartfelt feelings.
Bingley and Jane are falling in love, Elizabeth is hopeful for Jane, and Darcy is fighting his growing attraction to the feisty Elizabeth who has steeled herself against his haughty ways.
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Mr. Collins)
With the Bennets' home entailed to their ridiculous cousin Collins, his presumptuous offer to make one of the Bennet girl his wife enthralls the mother and repels the daughters.
Song 9: In My Imagination
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Charlotte)
At the Bingleys’ masked ball, Lizzy’s pragmatic friend, Charlotte, confides that while Lizzy might have marital choices, Charlotte herself is in no position to be picky--and that romantic love is not the only path to contentment.
(Click song title above to hear it sung by the Bennet Family)
The sudden departure of the Bingley party for London devastates Jane, and her family for her. Elizabeth suspects the manipulation of Bingley’s spiteful sister Caroline. But she is unaware of the impact of the rude behavior of her younger sisters and her mother, plus her own attentions to the secret scoundrel Wickham, upon Darcy—who has decided to rescue his friend--and himself--from the clutches of the conniving Bennet women by taking his party off to London.
Song 11: Being Married
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Charlotte and Mr. Collins)
Having spurned Collins’ proposal, Elizabeth acquiesces to visit him and his rebound bride, Charlotte, in their new home—where they sing the praises of the ties that bind. However, Charlotte’s performance of the song hints at her being less than ecstatic about the choice she has made.
Song 12: That Would Be Me
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Lady Catherine DeBourgh)
The bossy Lady Catherine is even more pompous than her sycophant, Mr. Collins, whom she has invited to dinner along with his wife and Elizabeth. Noting the attentions of her nephew Darcy to Elizabeth, she holds forth even more obnoxiously.
Song 13: The One I Could Have Been
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Darcy)
Elizabeth's unexpected appearance at his Aunt Catherine's estate sends Darcy into turmoil, as he wrestles with his conflict between passion and prejudice. Succumbing to love, his unexpected, and all-too-honest proposal enrages Elizabeth, who rails against his arrogance, and his newly discovered part in separating Bingley from her sister Jane. Taking his leave, Darcy broken-heartedly laments the loss of a future with Elizabeth.
Song 14: How Dare He
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Elizabeth)
Elizabeth expresses her shock and anger to her friend, Charlotte, that Darcy had the nerve to propose to her, even while insulting her family and destroying her dear sister’s hope for happiness. Yet, between rantings emerges her irrepressible ambivalence, evidence of even deeper feelings of caring for this exasperatingly complicated man
Song 15: A Husband
(Reprise, Sung as a duet by Elizabeth and Jane)
Elizabeth is summoned home, only to find the Bennet household in an uproar. Not only has Lydia run away with Wickham, but her letter indicates no plans to marry—which will throw the Bennet family into total disgrace!
Elizabeth assumes the reason for Darcy’s sudden appearance at Longbourn is to gloat in person over her family’s misfortune. On the contrary: upon hearing the bad news, he feels compelled to tell Elizabeth how Wickham had once tried to run away with Darcy’s wealthy little sister. Only a payoff from Darcy dissuaded him. This story only deepens Elizabeth’s despair, since unlike Darcy, the Bennets are too poor to “purchase” Lydia’s betrothal to the odious Wickham, even if they wanted to. Their only hope is to find the girl before word of her actions ruins her reputation—and the futures of all the Bennet sisters.
After Mr. Darcy leaves, Lizzy confides in Jane about his proposal. The two fantasize about a world in which marriage isn't a woman's financial salvation...
Song 16: Mr. Collins Tango
(Click song title above to hear it sung by Mr. Collins)
Not one to miss an opportunity to gloat, Mr. Collins shows up to blame the Bennets’ faulty childrearing for daughter Lydia's scandalous disappearance with Mr. Wickham. From there he tangos around to the universal truth—that "hanky-panky" is NEVER the man’s fault.
Lydia's sudden appearance—with her new husband, Wickham in tow—gives the Bennets reason to rejoice.
Lady Catherine's unexpected visit is less so. She is there to learn the truth of Darcy’s rumored proposal to Elizabeth, and to exact from Lizzy a promise that she will never accept Darcy’s hand in marriage. Lizzy‘s indignant refusal to cooperate drives out Lady Catherine in a vengeful rage. The eavesdropping Darcy is ecstatic, and summons his courage to propose to Elizabeth one last time. Finally realizing her respect and love for him, Lizzy accepts.
Darcy takes Lizzy to the window to show her that Charles is proposing to Jane.
As Darcy and Lizzy sing of their love in the finale, Charles and Jane join them, as does the rest of the cast as the song crescendoes into a joyous double wedding scene.
Song 19: I Wish You Joy Finale
(Click song title above to hear it sung by the Cast)
Through repenting for his prejudices, maneuvering the redemptive marriage of Lydia and Wickham, and reuniting Bingley and Jane, Darcy proves himself to be worthy of Elizabeth—herself repenting for her own misguided pride--after all. A double-wedding unites the two couples, as the Bennet family and the whole town joins in on this paean of love, friendship, and community.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
RITA ABRAMS, Music and Lyrics
Rita has won 2 Emmy Awards, 32 ASCAP Awards, and 3 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for her other musical comedy collaborations, which include New Wrinkles, Men are from Mars~Women are from Venus, For Whom the Bridge Tolls, and Just My Type.
Her Sony/BMG comedy albums with Dr. Elmo earned her a gold record. Rita's album containing her evergreen hit single "Mill Valley” (over 100,000 YouTube hits) was re-released in Japan, by Varese-Sarabande Records.
Rita also writes humor books, greeting cards, and scripts for Velocity Entertainment. And she is very excited about IAM Theatre’s national premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, The MUSICAL.
PRESS & PUBLICATION QUOTES FOR RITA'S WORK
“Abrams’ songs are production’s standouts…” —Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle
“Abrams’ songs are playful and extremely easy on the ears.” —Gary Dretzka, Chicago Tribune
“The funniest lines and best moments come from Rita Abrams’ songs.”— Gene Price, Bay Area Reporter
“The show’s biggest strength is in the musical numbers penned by Abrams.” —Linda Xiques, Pacific Sun
“ ‘Christmas All Across the U.S.A.,’ by Rita Abrams. is so on target right now - just what the doctor ordered! Warner Bros. Publications has released sheet music on the title, and it is already flying off the shelves. —Jeannet de Lisa, Warner Bros. Publications
“Rita Abrams is one of the most capable and engaging composer/lyricists I have ever worked with…one of the best songwriters in America today. An artist who can delight so utterly with every song she writes should share her gifts with the widest audience possible.” —David Bell, Director, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus ~ the Musical
Over a million and a half novels by Josie Brown are in readers' hands. She's a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, as well as an independently published author. Her novels have hit #1 on Amazon and iBooks rankings on numerous occasions.
She is the author of The Housewife Assassin's Handbook series; Totlandia series; and the True Hollywood Lies series, as well as these stand-alone novels:
The Candidate; The Baby Planner; and Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, which was optioned by Jerry Bruckheimer for television.
PRESS & PUBLICATION QUOTES FOR JOSIE'S WORK
"Josie Brown writes with all the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK Magazine cover. Truly entertaining reading."--Jackie Collins, Hollywood Wives
"Josie Brown’s writing is whip-smart as well as wickedly funny, and just as you are enjoying the ride she takes you on, she shatters your heart with her insight into modern lives."—Tatjana Soli, New York Times bestselling author and 2011 recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction for The Lotus Eaters
The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor...” —Wall Street Journal
"Brown captures the humor of working for a megalomaniac...[A] well-paced, entertaining story..." —Publishers Weekly
"A fine piece of literary work." —New York Post
"Already touted as the perfect summer beach read, this character driven (sometimes steamy) book can best be described as the offspring of an affair between Desperate Housewives and a Jennifer Weiner novel....A quick look into the sometimes catty world of wealth where priorities get shifted, friendships get broken and marriages, like their mansions, get rearranged. It was light and fluffy (with some excellent dialogue.)..."—
"The book ended with a hook that immediately wanted me to get the next one...I'm completely smitten." —Barbara Vey
"Brown takes baby mania to its illogical, hysterical extreme in this bubbly romp....But what begins as a light foray into Bugaboo country turns into something bigger than a satire of status-obsessed Bay Area yummy mummies as Brown takes a dark look at the fears of parenthood and family, with Katie's heartbreaking longing for a child unveiling a disturbing reality about her marriage and family. Still, the message from the somber realities is one full of hope: love makes a family, commitment keeps it together." —Publishers Weekly
"Fans of Desperate Housewives will enjoy this story. The examination of neighborhood politics and shallowness of the affluent is insightful and entertaining." —Romantic Times
"I loved it! Josie Brown captures the highs and lows of love, lust and marriage with heartbreaking pathos. I'm recommending it to all my friends as the perfect beach read!" -- Lisa Rinna, actress, and author of the novel Starlit
A Note to Producers:
Pride And Prejudice, the Musical has a cast size of 17 speaking/singing: 10 women/5 men. This version can be augmented for larger groups.
"Pocket" Pride and Prejudice, the Musical has a cast size of only 6 (3 female/3 males, playing multiple roles)
Producers are welcomed to email us for a copy of our brochure of press reviews: PridePrejudiceMusical@gmail.com
Theatre producers are welcome to discuss this and other musical theater projects by Rita Abrams and Josie Brown. For questions, contact
THE ROBERT A. FREEDMAN DRAMATIC AGENCY
1501 Broadway, Ste. 2310
New York, NY 10036
You can also reach Josie and Rita at PridePrejudiceMusical@gmail.com
OUR THANKS TO OUR CAST OF SINGERS
on these demo recordings, in alphabetical order: