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Q&A with Director Valerie Rachelle on Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical

Valerie Rachelle

Director Valerie Rachelle returned to the Festival this season, having been an assistant director almost twenty years ago. This season, she directed the “bubbly and elegant” Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical

She has also worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Opera, and Utah Festival Opera to name a few. She is currently the Artistic Director at Oregon Cabaret Theatre.

Rachelle boasts teaching credits from the University of California Los Angeles, PCPA, and Southern Oregon University. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of California Irvine after a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from the California Institute of Arts. 

The Festival: How long have you been directing plays? What is your history with the Festival? 

Rachelle: I have been a choreographer for over 30 years. I have been directing for over 25 years. I was last at the Festival as an Assistant Director for All’s Well that Ends Well in 2005. So, this year is my second time working for the Festival.

The Festival: Why were you excited to direct Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical

Rachelle: I’m a Jane Austen super fan. And, I have directed and choreographed musicals for over 25 years now so the two together––MAGIC!

The Festival: This musical is very similar to the original novel. Why should people come see this show? 

Rachelle: It’s a beautiful glass of sparkling wine. It’s full of celebration, laughs, love, romance, and joy.

The Festival: What challenges came with directing this play? 

Rachelle: Honestly, it was the smoothest, most joyous process I have been a part of.

The Festival: As playgoers, what should we watch for in this play that would help us enjoy it even more? Are there any special Jane Austen “easter eggs” you have implemented into the play as the director? 

Rachelle: If you are a Jane Austen fan you will notice many of the lines and descriptions of characters are directly from the novel. Even some of the lyrics in the songs are direct Austen quotes.

The Festival: What realization or feeling do you hope audience members leave with after seeing the play?

Rachelle: In my director’s statement to the designers I said I wanted the audience to leave the theater holding their partner’s hand, or giving someone a hug––spreading joy to others is the goal of this musical.

For more information on Rachelle, visit her website at valerierachelle.com

To purchase tickets to Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical this season, click here or call 800-PLAYTIX.

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