Delightful score spices up ‘Emma’s’ romantic schemes at the Old Globe Theatre

By Diana Saenger


“Jane Austen’s Emma – A Musical Romantic Comedy,” at the Old Globe Theatre, captures the essence of the original book with its witty dialogue and amusing situations, but now profits from a delightful score sung by enormously talented performers.

Richert Easley (Mr. Woodhouse) Patti Murin (Emma) and Adam Monley (Mr. Knightley) steal a scene in ‘Jane Austen’s Emma – A Musical Romantic Comedy,’ now playing at the Old Globe Theatre. Credit: Photo by Henry DiRocco

The premise for the show lies in the lyrics from one of its tunes, “the heart wants what it wants.”

Guiding this tale of true love is terrific direction by Tony Award-nominee Jeff Calhoun and beautiful music by Tony Award-nominated composer Paul Gordon. Though the tunes aren’t such one might be humming the morning after the show, they serve the story admirably and artfully, and garner rounds of applause.

The stage design by Tobin Ost appears minimal, but works quite well. Denitsa Bliznakova’s lovely costume designs keep the historical look of this 200-year-old tale.

Patti Murin plays the effervescent ingénue Emma, and there isn’t a moment in her performance that she doesn’t light up the stage.

Emma is a driven matchmaker. Her first subject is the commoner Harriet Smith (Dani Marcus), who has her eyes on walnut grower Robert Martin (Adam Daveline). Emma thinks Harriet can do better, so sets her sites on Mr. Elton (Brian Herndon). When he professes to only have eyes for Emma, she declines Elton’s efforts and looks for another mate for Harriet.

Moving from one eligible single to another, Emma continues to do what she feels is her calling. Her dear friend Mr. Knightly, however, keeps reminding her that even though matchmaking is her obsession, she lacks the skills to be successful. He alludes that’s because she’s not in touch with own romantic feelings, but could he possibly have hidden desires for Emma?

If you go

What: “Jane Austen’s Emma: A Musical Romantic Comedy”

When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays to March 6

Where: Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park

Tickets: $39-$94 (619) 23-GLOBE or

Free forums: Feb. 1 and 9, discuss the play with cast and crew

Works by Jane Austen:Sense and Sensibility “(1811), “Pride and Prejudice” (1813), “Mansfield Park” (1814), “Emma (1816),” and “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion,” both published posthumously in 1818.

Related posts:

  1. Perils of romance come to the stage in new musical ‘Emma’ at The Old Globe in Balboa Park
  2. Old Globe presents Arthur Miller classic ‘Death of a Salesman’ starring Jeffrey DeMunn
  3. San Diego Opera to offer the community six free lectures, many in La Jolla
  4. Creating production posters is a team effort at the La Jolla Playhouse
  5. La Jolla Playhouse actress tours in solo show

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Posted by Susan DeMaggio on Jan 27, 2011. Filed under A & E, Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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