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About the Playwrights: Jane Austen's Emma The Musical

Jane Austen: The Novel 

The prolific author was born in December of 1775 and passed away in July of 1817. She is known for her famous novels published anonymously: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were both published after her death in 1818. 

Her works are known to explore subjects of women’s reliance on marriage for social standing and financial security, but the beloved heroine Emma was less focused on her love life and more frightened of boredom. Austen’s imperfect and bold heroine is a loveable character in the upcoming musical at the Festival. 

Austen had a love of music, which translated to her characters in her novels. Her manuscripts and sheet music were obtained by family members at the time of her passing, and Austen was said to have played the piano starting at the age of ten. 

The writer is known for her use of irony, social commentary, and realism in her work and since her death in the early 1800s, her books have been steadily in print and have seen unwavering success. Many of her works have been adapted into television series, movies, and of course, musicals! 

You can learn more interesting information about Austen in our 10 Fun Facts About Jane Austen’s Emma article on bard.org/news. 

Paul Gordon: Orchestrations, Lyrics, Music, Book 

Paul Christian Gordon was a famous American musician, composer, and producer. He was born October 19, 1963 and died February 18, 2016. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2001 for Jane Eyre musical and also adapted Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice into musicals.

In an interview with BroadwayWorld, he felt Austen’s novels had “a contemporary and surprisingly modern feel.” He adapted Emma into “mid-century modern yet kept the language intact.”

The composer’s other shows include Daddy Long Legs, Knight’s Tale, Juliet and Romeo, Sleepy Hollow, The Front, and more. 

Gordon was touring musician and a member of two bands, the New Radicals and the keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for the B-52’s. 

He has an impressive record with musical clientele, working with Natasha Bedingfield, the Goo Goo Dolls, Prince, Lisa Maria Presley, Mandy Moore, and more. 

In addition to working with these musicians, Gordon composed music for The Fox Network, ABC Family, and Spike TV. He also wrote film soundtracks, some of which include the themes for Digimon, Transformers: Robot in Disguise, and Power Rangers Wild Force.

Brad Haak: Orchestrations 

Haak is most known for his credits as the music director for Disney’s Mary Poppins. Haak also directed Elton John’s Lestat, and II Divo - A Musical Affair. 

He conducted national tours of The Lion King and Miss Saigon and worked as a music supervisor and orchestrator for Paul Gordon during fifteen United States tours and four international tours of the shows Daddy Long Legs, Jane Eyre, and Little Miss Scrooge. With over 20 years of experience, his work has seen many stages, from Broadway to Carnegie Hall.

Brian Allan Hobbs: Orchestrations 

Some of Hobbs’ play credits include the play Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere; and composing for the play The Many Women of Troy. 

Production credits include End of the Rainbow; Passion; David Copperfield: The New Musical; In the Heights; and many more. On Broadway, Hobbs prepared music for Finian’s Rainbow (2009-2010), was a copyist for Rock of Ages (2009-2015), and was a music production assistant for Tarzan (2006-2007). 

To purchase tickets to Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, visit bard.org. Performances begin June 22 in the Randall L. Jones Theatre, and run through October 7, 2023.

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© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah