Jane Eyre: The Musical runs March 14 to April 1 at Trinity Western University.

Langley’s TWU musical evokes dark undertones of Bronte classic

Jane Eyre: The Musical runs March 14 to April 1 at Trinity Western University.

A large ensemble of 23 make up the cast of the upcoming Trinity Western University production of Jane Eyre: The Musical.

The show, which runs March 14 to April 1, features two Langley residents: Julianna Towle in the lead roles of Jane Eyre and and Paul Kobilke as Rochester. And they’re accompanied by a cast of other actors – including children – from throughout Langley and other parts of the Lower Mainland.

They’re bringing Charlotte Bronte’s gothic novel to musical life in all its haunting, mysterious, and romantic beauty, said director and assistant TWU prof Kate Muchmore Woo.

“This is not your typical musical,” the director said, explaining it is a “must see for anyone who loves gorgeous music an great singing – as well as historical drama with strong, unconventional heroines, brooding heroes, romance, intrigue, and a touch of comedy.”

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TWU theatre major Kate Nundal is playing Jane’s guardian, Mrs. Reed.

“The story is about people who are trapped in some way; by societal expectations, by hatred, by money, or class,” she said.

“We follow Jane as she struggles to overcome these ‘cages’ to find herself and her freedom,” Nundal added.

With music and lyrics by Paul Gordon, plus book and additional lyrics by John Caird, the musical has been hailed for its “luxuriant score and haunting and memorable music,” Muchmore Woo said, noting it takes much of its “crisp, intelligent lyrics” straight from the classic Bronte novel.

Speaking to the storyline, she said the play is full of deep and honest characterizations.

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“Bullied and mistreated for much of her life, a young governess fights for dignity and a better outcome for herself only to fall inexplicably in love with her troubled employer. When the secret he harbours threatens to jeopardize their chance at happiness, will she let passion or her conscience rule her heart?”

“The chance to direct a musical that is this dark and haunting—but also beautiful and full of truth—is not something that happens often,” she said.

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This production features many of the schools “most exceptional singers and actors,” Muchmore Woo said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for theatre and music students to work together, and to share the stage with some delightful and talented children.”

This production is directed by Muchmore Woo, with musical direction by Allan Thorpe. The design team is Carolyn Rapanos (set), Megan Gilron (costumes), and Chengyan Boon (lights and projections).

Tickets are $16 to $25 each and available at www.twu.ca/theatre or 604-533-2188.

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