When novels come to life

14 Nov
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Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley in “Pride & Prejudice” at the Lakewood Playhouse. Photo by Kate Paterno-Lick

I am always in awe of the caliber of talent and the creativity of the stage production of Broadway shows. I have been fortunate enough to see a variety of musicals on the West and East Coast.

It was only until recently I had the opportunity to experience the intimate setting of a playhouse. Last Friday my Jane Austen-loving friends and I watched opening night of “Pride & Prejudice” at the Lakewood Playhouse.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s classic romance, and it’s the 75th anniversary season of the live community theatre. On the outside perimeter of a giant shopping center lies the Lakewood Playhouse, founded in 1938. The 180-seat theatre is stadium seating around the center stage, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

Lucky for us, we were right in the front row, so close I felt I was a part of the show. The play features 23 local actors and it was fantastic! As scenes played out right in front of us I enjoyed how so much was done with just a few physical props. The timeless tale was told in a three hour long production with an intermission.

Two characters stole the show in my opinion, “Mrs. Bennet” and “William Collins.” Both portrayed their over the top characters with enthusiasm and gusto. They were so fun to watch and added the humor Austen’s writing calls for.

The play adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice” is just one of many, many done in film, television, plays and musicals. A multitude of books have also been written as a spinoff to Austen’s 1813 classic.

What have you seen at a playhouse? What did you think?

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One Response to “When novels come to life”

  1. Jenifer Brown November 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Sounds like a fun, intimate evening! I haven’t been to a playhouse in ages. But I remember it feeling like I was part of the cast. And when I used to act I loved performing in the playhouses the best. I don’t know if I could handle a three hour production anymore, though. This drives my theatre-loving family crazy.

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