The new West Side Theatre Company will cap its first season with an ambitious production of “Pride & Prejudice,” a Utah showcase for a musical its Brooklyn playwright hopes will eventually head to Broadway.
The musical’s been 11 years in the making, says Lawrence Rush, who wrote the book, lyrics and music. Rush agreed to license the fledgling Utah community theater to produce one of the show’s first full-scale productions because “I’m excited for people to see it,” he said. “I just want it out there.”
Producers convinced him that “Jane Austen is very well loved in these parts,” recalls Rush, who came to Utah last month to attend rehearsals. “That was another good reason to say OK. I want an audience that’s going to like the show.”
The theater company is betting on Utah audiences’ love for all things Austen, says company co-founder Tyler Hinton. He refers to popular stage productions in Utah County (at SCERA Center for the Arts and Brigham Young University). In addition, there’s evidence of audience love from professional stagings at Pioneer Theatre Company (“Emma” in 2012 and “Pride and Prejudice” in 2006) and Utah Shakespeare Festival (“Sense and Sensibility” in 2014).
A new adaptation with a 17-member cast is an ambitious undertaking for the all-volunteer company, which performs at an Eagle Mountain garden center. The company has doubled the crowd at each of the season’s two previous shows, Hinton says, and the new goal is to draw more than 800 theatergoers to five shows running Thursday through March12.
Rush’s “Pride and Prejudice” musical has received workshops in Chicago and Philadelphia, and a concert staging at New York’s Feinstein’s/54 Below in 2016. It also been performed by schools in Maryland and Texas, and a theater company in England.
When Lizzie met Darcy
The new West Side Theatre Company presents a musical adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice.”
When • Thursday-Saturday, March 8-10, and Monday, March 12, 7:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. matinee Saturday
Where • Garden Near the Green, 3700 E. Campus Drive, No. 100, Eagle Mountain
Tickets • $12 ($10 seniors, students and children) at the door
Also • Theatergoers are invited to wear costumes to the Saturday matinee, which will feature a Regency dance pre-show performed by the Old Glory Vintage Dancers
Information • westsidetheatreco.org