IROQUOIS – Jane Austen actually wrote Emma in 1815, but her 19th century story of mixed-up romances, imaginative ‘meddling’ and comical match-making has remained hugely popular ever since.
Emma has been filmed several times, (most recently starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma), and aired as a made-for-TV hit movie with Kate Beckinsale in the title role.
There have also been numerous popular stage adaptations of the beloved story.
Now, coming to the stage at Seaway District High School on Friday, June 7, for two shows only, it’s Emma – A Pop Musical.
Featuring a cast of very talented young Seaway drama students, with a guest performer from St. Michael’s in Kemptville joining them, the show promises to be a thoroughly entertaining version of the classic story.
“The production is full of iconic pop songs by stars like Katy Perry and Cindi Lauper,” said teacher/director Pamela Linklater, “making it a very contemporary show. The play was actually created for high school students and it’s set in a high school.”
Seaway music teacher Colleen Leslie is the musical director of the show. All the cast will be singing live to a specially created musical sound track.
The performers (made up of both secondary and intermediate school students) have been rehearsing since February, (joined just recently by Dominic Belhumeur of St. Michael’s in the role of Frankie Churchill.)
“These kids have been working super hard,” said Pamela Linklater. “They’ve given up a lot of their personal time after school and at lunch hours.”
Taking on the challenging role of the star-crossed matchmaker Emma, is grade eight student Emily Vreman.
Luka Kalinovic is playing the rather vain Philip Elton, with Oliver Workman-Suttle as Jeff Knightly. Erika Suttle is Miss Bates, and Lilly Lewis is Ashley. Christian Mueller is playing Martin, with Maddy Machielsen assuming many roles.
And making their debut in an English musical are Seaway’s Italian exchange students Irene Vero as Harriet and Francesca Termidoro as Jane Fairfax,. The two girls laughingly call this a “real Canadian experience.”
Any funds raised by the performances will be used to support Seaway’s drama program Linklater added.
I asked some cast members about the time and effort involved in creating a live musical. “It’s been a fun experience.” “The whole thing has been absolutely amazing, even though it is hard work too,” were among their enthusiastic responses
Emma – A pop Musical opens at 9:45 a.m. on June 7, for high school and elementary students. Family, friends and the community are invited to attend the second performance at 7 p.m. Tickets for this terrific musical are just $10.