This month, we check in with Rick Boynton, Creative Producer at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, as he tells us about their upcoming production of Sense and Sensibility, by Paul Gordon (Fest ’13-Analog & Vinyl; Fest ’06-Jane Austen’s Emma).
Sense and Sensibility traces the lives of Elinor & Marianne Dashwood—two sisters whose fortunes change following their father’s untimely death. One cool and deliberate, the other consumed by youthful passion, Elinor and Marianne journey to make life anew while testing the bonds of sisterhood and the power of love.
How did Chicago Shakespeare meet Paul Gordon and why was he an artist you wanted to work with?
I first was introduced to Paul when I was serving on the Festival committee and read his Emma in 2006. I loved the adaptation. Paul is such a gifted composer, lyricist and book writer. Not only is his music beautiful, but he brings classical text to life with a great sense of wonder, passion and humor. I knew we had to work with him.
Did you bring the idea of Sense and Sensibility to Paul or did he bring it to you and why did it feel like a good fit for Chicago Shakes?
Our Artistic Director, Barbara Gaines, and I traveled to see a production of Emma at The Old Globe and we both agreed we should commission Paul. He was excited about adapting Sense and Sensibility and the lush romanticism of the period and Austen’s beautiful story was a natural fit for Chicago Shakes.
What has the development process been for the show?
We commissioned Paul in 2012 and created a development plan that included several writing sessions in residence here at Chicago Shakes, informal table readings and staged readings. It has been a terrific collaboration.
What is going to be Chicago Shakespeare’s approach to telling Jane Austen’s story?
Jane Austen’s romance is full of wit, passion and period charm. Paul brings Sense and Sensibility to life with a keen understanding of Austen’s world and gives voice to the rich emotional core of the piece.
Who is on the creative team to bring this show to life and how did they fall in to place?
Our Artistic Director, Barbara Gaines, is directing. She is joined by an incredible creative team including: set designer Kevin Depinet, lighting designer Don Holder, costume designer Susan Mickey, musical director Laura Bergquist and orchestrators Larry Hochman and Bruce Coughlin. Kevin, Susan and Don are longtime collaborators of ours here at Chicago Shakes. Larry and Laura both collaborated with Paul on Jane Eyre, and we were thrilled to welcome them—along with Bruce and arranger Curtis Moore—to the team.
Why should people come to Navy Pier this spring to experience this world premiere new musical?
We are proud and excited to premiere Sense and Sensibility in our beautiful Courtyard Theatre on Navy Pier. This dynamic production, with a Tony Award©-nominated composer, tremendous cast and ten-piece orchestra, will send your spirits soaring.
For more information about Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s upcoming production of Sense and Sensibility, visit the Chicago Shakes website.