ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College’s Performing Arts Department will bring Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre to life this month as a musical featuring songs of hope, pain and, of course, love! The production opens Friday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the WWCC Theatre and continues Saturday, April 18, and Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25. Evening shows all begin at 7:30 p.m. and there will be an a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on April 25.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. Children under age 5 are welcome to attend the April 25 matinee performance but will not be admitted to any of the evening performances. For tickets and information, please contact the Performing Arts Office at (307) 382-1721 or go to http://westernwyoming.edu/tix
‘Jane Eyre’ follows the title character on a journey of mystery and self-discovery, as she moves from a childhood in which she faces many challenges and difficulties to young adulthood, when she seeks to uncover who she is, what she wants, and, ultimately, what matters most in a person’s life. Along the way, Jane learns to understand, accept, and even forgive the many people she meets, including her cruel aunt, Mrs. Reed; the girls of Lowood School; the inhabitants of Thornfield Hall; and, of course, a man with many secrets, Edward Fairfax Rochester. The musical “Jane Eyre” takes the audience on a journey of discovery as they join Jane in piecing together the fragments of memory, fantasy, fiction, lies, and truths that form her understanding of herself.
This stage production of “Jane Eyre” is the final in a series of spring events that celebrate Bronte’s novel. “Jane Eyre: Read, Watch, Experience,” sponsored by Western and the Sweetwater County Library System, featured several film screenings and discussions based on Jane Eyre or related works.
Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Eric-Richard DeLora said he is thrilled to direct this spring production, and he credited the Performing Arts Department’s many talented designers, actors, technicians, musicians, interns, and staff members with collaborating to bringing this beautifully staged and realized work to the community. DeLora acknowledged that one of the challenges in bringing a work of classic literature to the stage in a musical format lies in trying to remain faithful to the spirit and tone of the source novel. Both the novel and the musical, the director said, contain a message “about forgiving those who often challenge us on our journey toward finding and then being true to one’s self.”
“I want to present the play in a unique and interesting way, but I want to make sure that I stay true to the author’s intentions,” DeLora explained.
Sophomore Morgan Huffman, who plays Jane, said she is excited to portray the lead in such a dramatic musical, though she added that the songs did present some challenges for her.
“I am a soprano, and some of the notes are really low,” Huffman explained. “But the music director had them taken up for me, so it’s easier on my voice.”
Rock Springs native Peter Kisiel portrays Edward Rochester, with whom the actor says he shares certain quirky characteristics.
“We come off as abrasive until you get to know us,” Kisiel explained. He added that, “’Jane Eyre’ the musical is exactly like the novel!”
“Jane Eyre” is one of several recent Performing Arts productions to include local high school performers among the cast. Lizzi Moore, of Rock Springs High School, and Payton Sweet, of Black Butte High School, both said they are very excited to have a role in a college stage production, though both actresses had to balance their school obligations with late hours and long rehearsals in order to take part.
“We tend to run rehearsals until late at night, which makes it harder to do homework and get plenty of sleep,” Moore said.
“Managing a 4.0 GPA is a struggle now,” Sweet added.
Both cast members said the opportunity to appear on stage in a Western production is worth the extra challenges.
Western Wyoming Community College and the Performing Arts Department are pleased to present “Jane Eyre” beginning this Friday, April 17, and continuing April 18, 23, 24, and 25, at the WWCC Theatre on the Rock Springs campus. Go to westernwyoming.edu for more information.