…that a literary actor in possession of a musical inclination, must be in want of an adaptation.

Fortunately, I am in want no longer, because in a few weeks I’ll be playing Mary Bennet in a new musical version of Pride and Prejudice for two concert readings as part of the Seattle / Mainstreet Festival of New Musicals. I am a devoted Austen reader, so I’m especially delighted to be taking part.

What is Mainstreet, you ask? Mainstreet Musicals is a national organization, whose mission is “to evaluate, identify and regularly introduce brand new, highly regarded musicals into communities that present them live in concert” through regional festivals, helmed by local directors (in Seattle’s case, the inimitable Billie Wildrick). The festival is also presenting two other new musicals that I’m looking forward to viewing, and that I encourage you musical fans to catch as well: Under Fire (based on the 1983 movie) and Merton of the Movies.

I love that Mainstreet is encouraging not only new musical works, but also regional theatre. Regional theatre can be a fantastic place to develop a show (as a multitude of union and fringe theatres in Seattle demonstrate regularly). It’s a win-win for many parties. Regional audiences get to be some of the first viewers of new shows before those shows progress to larger productions; the playwrights, lyricists, & composers of this year’s scripts get the chance to see many iterations of their work with a variety of casts; and regional actors and artists get the opportunity to work on fresh material (that doesn’t have to compete with current or previous Broadway productions) and to contribute to the creative development of the pieces in the long run.

I leave you with this little nugget– so integral to my character, middle sister Mary Bennet:

“Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.”

~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The Piano Lesson by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1896

Seattle / Mainstreet Festival of New Musicals

Thursday, June 18 – Monday June 23**

West of Lenin203 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Subscriptions & info (w/ full festival schedule)

** The Fremont Solstice Festival is happening this weekend, so please plan on extra time to bus/park and reach our venue! My suggestion? Arrive early in Fremont to enjoy a nosh or swing by the Solstice Festival on your way to a show. You can bet your Regency ballgown that’s what I’ll be doing.

I recently realized I let these posts languish for nigh on half a year, which in Internet time is a criminal length. So, let’s catch up. Highlights for the second half of 2013 included:

~ Appearing in two staged readings of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars as Princess Leia, thereby fulfilling a major fantasy of my eighth-grade self, and scratching my verse itch in a great way. Thanks to ReAct’s Artistic Director David Hsieh for the opportunity, author Ian Doescher for penning this Shakes-cum-geeky delight and joining us at reading #2, and the local Star Wars fans who came and partook with unrestrained gusto. I feel as though I might have gotten a taste of what Shakespeare’s actors might have experienced in the Globe Theatre with rowdy groundling audience members, and it’s awfully fun. I recommend it.

~ Music directing A Child’s Christmas in Wales at Stone Soup Theatre for the holiday season. I’ve long been both a singer and devotee of choral/ensemble music, and it was such a treat to work on multi-part harmony with a game and tuneful cast. One of my favorite intersections of performing arts is where music– sung and played– meets robust acting technique, and I find that I love working on this in performing, directing, and coaching capacities.

~ Launching my full-time freelance career a scant two weeks ago. It’s really too new to report back definitively, but so far it’s energizing, exciting, and engaging.

What’s coming up in 2014? All in good time, I say. More on that soon!