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'Jane Eyre' will intrigue audiences

The North Crawford Playhouse will present the musical drama of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre on Nov. 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12.

“Dear friends, this may well prove to be the most beautiful piece of musical theater the playhouse has ever done,” says NCP Director Rob Ghormley of the Jane Eyre production.  “Starting with a truly epic love story of literary importance, adding a musical score that is not merely tuneful, but hauntingly, chillingly lovely; performed by a talented, well-seasoned cast who have a firm grasp on the emotional magnitude of the work, and played on the largest, most extensive set we have ever built, this production of Jane Eyre will be a most memorable experience. Trust me; if ever you have enjoyed a show at the Playhouse, this is one you which you will want a ticket.”

The musical begins with Jane Eyre, (Sheri Schwert) narrating her own story, which begins in the early 1820s in England. 

There is flashback to her childhood,  where the lonely orphan, young Jane Eyre (Eloise Williamson), is cast away by her peevish Aunt Reed    (Anastasia Cox) and her terrible children  (Jake Bransky and Jordan Finnell).  Jane is shipped off to a beggarly boarding school,   here she is humiliated and beaten by the arrogant headmaster, Mr. Brocklehurst (Jerad Powell), and by the cruel teacher, Miss Scatcherd (Riley Barlow). 

Jane is befriended by another student, Helen Burns (Anna Schellhorn), who teaches her the secret of how to survive the injustice of the place. However, Helen becomes ill and  dies, leaving Jane to fend for herself.

Years pass, Jane now grown to a woman (Sheri Schwert) leaves the school, seeking her own liberty.  She is hired by the headmistress of Thornfield Hall, Mrs. Fairfax (Rowan Williamson) to be a governess to a little French girl, Adele (Zoe Peters). 

Many mysteries pervade the great estate, which everyone seems to deny: a queerly disturbing old servant, Grace Poole (Nichelle Martin), strange mirthless laughter in the upper floors at night, beds that catch fire, a ghostly figure that floats into Jane’s bedroom, a strange guest (Jerrid McDaniel) found savagely bitten by human teeth.

Yet, the most mysterious of all is the handsome, but darkly brooding master of it all, the wealthy Mr. Edward Rochester (Ryan Lundberg).  Rochester is slated to marry the elegant, arrogant heiress, Blanche Ingram (Rosa Thill). However, as he perceives Jane’s simple beauty, her keen mind and her entire lack of haughty pretension, he becomes fascinated by her.  Jane too is haunted by a forbidden attraction to this man far above her social station.  One night, Jane saves Rochester by following the strange echoing laughter only to find Rochester asleep in a bed engulfed in flames.

As Rochester’s marriage to Miss Ingram moves closer, Jane grows despondent. Then, suddenly, Miss Ingram departs and Rochester proposes marriage to Jane.

At their wedding ceremony, the darkest secret of all is unveiled and all of the mystery becomes terribly clear. Jane flees the estate and wanders the distant moors to land in the care of a kindly parson, St. John Rivers (Hank Schellhorn), who himself proposes marriage. 

Jane is lost and torn until a wonderful occurrence of miraculous import befalls her, sending her back to Thornfield.  There, she finds Rochester free from his torments and the sufferings of their love become resolved.

Don’t miss this production.  Tickets are on sale at the district office for $6 adults and $4 students.  Seating is limited to 250, so call early for reservations at 608-735-4318.