Victorian novel breathes life on stage


The Hope College Department of Theatre will present “Jane Eyre: The Musical” on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12, and Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 16-19, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

“Jane Eyre: The Musical” is based on the classic novel by Charlotte Bronte. The story begins during orphaned Jane Eyre’s tragic childhood, in which she is physically and emotionally abused by her aunt and cousin, attends a boarding school with a vicious headmaster and must cope with the death of her best friend Helen. As an adult, Jane applies to become a governess, receiving one offer from Thornfield Hall. At Thornfield, Jane mentors a young French girl named Adele who is cared for by Edward Rochester. Jane quickly falls in love with Mr. Rochester only to discover a horrible secret on their wedding day. The 2012 musical is an adaptation following the life of independent, intelligent and honest Jane as she battles hardship to find the middle ground between conscience and passion.

“As a musical, Jane Eyre is appropriately lush, romantic and Gothic,” said Daina Robins, who is the production’s director as well as a professor of theatre and department chair. “The title figure has always intrigued me—and I hope that others find her story as compelling as I do. She is a woman who does not necessarily fulfill her society’s expectations of her gender or class nor match its definition of beauty. I have always appreciated Jane’s non-conformism.”

In addition to Robins, the production team for “Jane Eyre: The Musical” includes faculty members Linda Dykstra as choral director, Christopher Fashun as orchestra conductor, Linda Strauf as piano accompanist, Linda Graham as choreographer, Jean Bahle as dialect coach, Michelle Bombe as costume designer and Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer. Staff members Andrew Souders and Paul Anderson serve as costume shop manager and technical director. Guest artist David Leugs serves as scenic designer. The stage manager for the production is Aaron McEachran (’17), and the assistant stage managers are Gracen Barth (’20) and Anna Jones (’18). Nils Fritjofson (’18) serves as assistant lighting designer.

The cast includes guest artist Jeremiah Postma, Jose Angulo (’19), Annie Bulthuis (’17), Teresa Cameon (’20), Megan Clark (’19), Mikayla Contreras (’18), Brianne Crouse (’19), Ben Douma (’20), Brynne Fritjofson (’19), Katie Joachim (’20), Alexander Johnson (’18), Kierney Johnson (’18), Rachel Kennedy (’18), Maxwell Lam (’20), Olivia Lehnertz (’19), Zach Makowski (’17), Emily Sandstedt (’20), Laura Schmidt (’17), Izzy Schonfeld (’18), Jacob Starr (’20), Paige Trujillo (’19), Deana Velandra (’18) and Elijah Yang (’18).

Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens and Hope faculty and staff and free for Hope students and children 18 and under. Tickets are available at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center. Tickets available online.

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