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.
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 TheOldGlobe.org
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.
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