Imagined Pride and Prejudice sequel lets middle sister Mary take center stage in romantic comedy beginning Oct. 13
CINCINNATI – What happens to the Bennet sisters after the events in Pride and Prejudice? Jane Austen fans can find out for themselves in the romantic comedy MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY, beginning at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Oct. 13. The Marx Theatre production runs through Nov. 10 (Opening night is Oct. 18.)
An imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the play returns to the beloved world of the Bennet family in a production that will please Austen fans and newcomers alike.
“Fans will delight in the new situation of the characters that they have so come to love; Austen newbies will find a world brimming with froth and wit and characters filled with life,” says Blake Robison, artistic director of the Playhouse.
At the end of Pride and Prejudice, Austen has her heroine Lizzie Bennet (the new Mrs. Darcy) write her family and invite them to Pemberley for Christmas. Playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon used this invitation as a springboard to imagine a rich story filled with the wit, humor and heart of the original. Their love for the material is immediately evident, as the characters encounter each other again and strive to find love, acceptance and happiness.
While comforted by the company of books and her piano, middle sister Mary has grown tired of her role as the dutiful daughter and dreams of her own independence. When the Bennets gather at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy for the holidays, an unexpected encounter brings about the possibility of an intellectual match and maybe even love for Mary.
In the hands of Gunderson and Melcon, Miss Bennet sparkles with lively wit that’s true to Austen’s style, as well as a contemporary sense of female empowerment. Co-author Melcon has described Mary as, “smart, capable, awkward — maybe a little bit nerdy — and she is rejecting the traditional values of the society that she is living in and forging her own path.”
Director Eleanor Holdridge explains, “Austen fans will be able to enjoy the more adult stories of their favorite heroines, as Jane comes to terms with impending parenthood and Lizzie strives to turn the august and somewhat stodgy shades of Pemberley into a home brimming with life and love.”
Playhouse audiences will be familiar with co-playwright Gunderson’s female-centric The Revolutionists, a comedy about four bold women set during the French Revolution, which made its world premiere in the Shelterhouse in 2016, and was directed by Holdridge. The play has gone on to receive numerous, successful productions around the country.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ohio’s only two-time Tony Award-winning theatre, boasts productions that are both nationally recognized and locally crafted. The 2018-2019 season includes productions featuring actors, directors and designers who regularly work on and off Broadway and at other leading professional theatres across the country. All productions are presented at the Playhouse’s iconic Eden Park setting.
Andrew Fallaize (Arthur de Bourgh); John Ford-Dunker (Charles Bingley); Mia Hutchinson Shaw (Lydia Wickham); John Keabler (Fitzwilliam Darcy); Maribel Martinez (Jane Bingley); Marina Shay (Elizabeth Darcy); Kathryn Tkel (Anne de Bourgh); Ayana Workman (Mary Bennet)
Eleanor Holdridge (Director); John Coyne (Set Designer); Helen Q. Huang (Costume Designer); Nancy Schertler (Lighting Designer); Matthew M. Nielson (Composer and Co-Sound Designer); Justin Schmitz (Co-Sound Designer); Howard Dent (Assistant to the Lighting Designer); Brooke Redler (Stage Manager); Jenifer Morrow and Suann Pollock (Second Stage Managers)
Page-to-Stage Book Club: Pride and Prejudice
Monday, Oct. 15 and Nov. 12 | 7 p.m. at The Mercantile Library | Cost: Free
Join us for our Page-to-Stage Book Club series with Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice, in preparation for the Playhouse’s production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Page-to-Stage Book Clubs will meet at The Mercantile Library at 414 Walnut St., #1100. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888.
Tasting Series: Afternoon Tea
Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27, and Nov. 3 and 10 | 2:30 p.m. at the Playhouse | Cost: $35 per person
Join us before Saturday 4 p.m. performances of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley for an afternoon tea event hosted by The BonBonerie. Afternoon tea will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. Cost is $35 per person and does not include a ticket to the show. Reservations are required by the Monday prior to the tasting and can be made through the Box Office at 513-421-3888 or online at cincyplay.com/events.
Off the Grid Series: Gorilla Cinema Brew and View: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Thursday, Nov. 1 | 7 to 9:30 p.m. at The Video Archive | Cost: Free
Join us for an interactive screening of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that will include games, trivia, a costume contest and a zombie makeup artist. Games, trivia, costume contest and makeup begin at 7 p.m. Screening of the film begins at 8 p.m. The Video Archive is located at 965 E. McMillan St. This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required; however, space is limited.
Adult Workshop: Tea at Pemberley
Saturday, Nov. 3 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Playhouse | Cost: $60 per person
In this immersive workshop, step back in time to play Georgian-era parlor games, learn country ball dances and enjoy a delightful tea service catered specially by The BonBonerie. Georgian-era costumes are encouraged but not required. To register for this workshop, call the Box Office at 513-421-3888.
Playhouse Perspectives: Reimagining Classic Literature with Curtis Sittenfeld
Sunday, Nov. 4 | 6 to 7 p.m. at the Playhouse | Cost: Free
Join Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison as he engages in conversation about reimagining classic literature with renowned author and Cincinnati native Curtis Sittenfeld. In 2016, Sittenfeld published Eligible, which is an homage to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that takes place in modern-day Cincinnati. Sittenfeld is the New York Times best-selling author of Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland and You Think It, I’ll Say It. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling the Box Office at 513 421 3888. The Playhouse Perspectives series is supported by a generous grant from Roderick and Barbara Barr.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, at 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. An additional matinee performance is offered at 1 p.m. on Nov. 7; no public performances on Oct. 31, and no public evening performances on Oct. 14 or Nov. 4. Individual tickets start at just $35 or $40. Tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances are priced at just $10 for college students with a valid school ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for children and teens are available for all productions and are $30 to $45, depending on show and seat location.
The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs, and complete wheelchair access are available.
Production Sponsor is Leading Ladies. Design Sponsor is Key Bank. Artists Sponsor is Barbara M. Weyand. The Robert S. Marx Theatre Season is presented by Schueler Group. Season Sponsor of New Work is The Rosenthal Family Foundation and Season Design Sponsor is Macy’s.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.