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!
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…
"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
#1: PLEASANT LITTLE LIFE
(Partial, sung by the cast)
The rustic and humble little English country town of Meryton has rarely been visited by the wealthy and prestigious.
#2: WELCOME TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
(Partial, 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!
#3: IT IS A TRUTH (Complete Song)
(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.
#4: FIVE DAUGHTERS
(Partial, 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.
#5: ASSEMBLY BALL BUZZ
(Partial, 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.
#6: A HUSBAND (Complete Song)
(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.
#7: CHANGING WORLD (Complete Song)
(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.
#8: MR. COLLINS'S MARRY ANTHEM
(Partial, 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.
#9: IN MY IMAGINATION
(Partial, 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.
#10: CHANGING WORLD - REPRISE
(Partial, 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.
#11: BEING MARRIED (Complete Song)
(Sung by Charlotte and Mr. Bennet)
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.
#12: THAT WOULD BE ME
(Partial, 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.
(Partial, sung by Mr. Darcy)
#14: HOW DARE HE!
(Partial, 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.
#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...
#16: MR. COLLINS'S TANGO
(Partial, 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.
#19: I WISH YOU JOY (WEDDING SONG)
(Partial, 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
_____________________________________ABOUT THE CREATORS
RITA ABRAMS, Music and Lyrics
Two-time Emmy Award winning composer/lyricist Rita Abrams has just won her twenty-sixth ASCAP Popular Music Award (January, 2007). During 2005-6, her comedy albums with Dr. Elmo, ("Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer") sold over 500,000 copies for the Sony/BMG label. Their latest album appeared for nine weeks on the Billboard comedy charts.
Rita’s stage musicals have earned her three San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. These include NEW WRINKLES, currently running in Canada, with past productions Pennsylvania, and Oregon, and her musical revue FOR WHOM THE BRIDGE TOLLS, which ran for over ten years in various San Francisco Bay Area cities.
Her musical version of John Gray’s MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS has run for a year at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. For her work in records, video and film, she has won awards from Associated Press (Best Video), New York TV and Film Festival, Parents' Choice, and CINE. Her 1970’s record, "Mill
Valley," was an international hit, reaching #5 on the national Billboard charts.
Theatrical producers are welcome to discuss this and other musical theater projects by Rita Abrams and Josie Brown. Email us at PridePrejudiceMusical@gmail.com
Josie Brown is the author of several novels, including that Totlandia series [Coliloquy Books]; The Housewife Assassin's Handbook [series; Signal Press];The Baby Planner [Simon & Schuster]; Impossibly Tongue Tied [Signal Press];True Hollywood Lies [Diversion Books]; and Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives [Simon & Schuster], which will soon be a dramatic television on NBC Television, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Josie's nonfiction books include a humor dictionary, Last Night I Dreamt of Cosmopolitans (St. Martin's Press) as well as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Finding Mr. Right(Penguin/Alpha Books) and Marriage Confidential: 102 Honest Answers to the Questions Every Husband Wants to Ask, and Every Wife Needs to Know (Signal Press)
Her celebrity profiles and relationship articles have appeared in Redbook, Complete Woman,and have been distributed via the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International.
Josie's nonfiction books include a humor dictionary, Last Night I Dreamt of Cosmopolitans (St. Martin's Press) as well as The Complete Idiot's Guide to Finding Mr. Right (Penguin/Alpha Books) and Marriage Confidential: 102 Honest Answers to the Questions Every Husband Wants to Ask, and Every Wife Needs to Know (Signal Press)
Her celebrity profiles and relationship articles have appeared in Redbook, Complete Woman, and have been distributed via the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International.
PRAISE FOR JOSIE BROWN
"Josie Brown writes with all the secrets, sex, money and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Truly entertaining reading." —Jackie Collins, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl
"BRAD, Angelina, Britney and Kevin may want to check out Josie Brown's new novel, Impossibly Tongue-Tied, for its ripped-from-the-headlines plot that mixes their scandals together..." — New York Post's PAGE SIX
"... Brown's debut novel [True Hollywood Lies] confirms just what you suspect about celebrity and unfolds with all the inevitability of a romantic comedy.. A love triangle between Hannah, her boss and his best friend Mick Bradshaw gives the book the tension that drives this well-paced, entertaining story forward…" — Publishers Weekly
"...The tone is confessional, the writing laced with venomous humor..." -- Wall Street Journal
"A fine piece of literary work." — New York Post's PAGE SIX
"Sounds like the perfect Holiday stocking stuffer." — (Phoenix) Arizona National Ledger
"I loved it! Josie Brown captures the highs and lows of love, lust and marriage with heartwrenching 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 15 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)
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: