Diary ~ Day Four: Brunch & Music & Darcy & Farewells / Final Thoughts
Early morning RC meeting, another helpful gathering…I am returning home with a suitcase full of ideas (not to mention those books!)
Off to Brunch and “A Conversation about Creativity, Collaboration, and Creaking Doors”
JASNA announcements including awarding prizes for the Young Writers Workshop ~ you can see the list of winners and read the winning essays at the JASNA website…all excellent and insightful! And then the Philadelphia entourage took the stage for a humorous skit and the passing of the JASNA banner from Chicago’s William Phillips to the coordinators of the next AGM, “Jane Austen’s Brothers and Sisters in the City of Brotherly Love“ October 9-11, 2009 in Philadelphia. Mark your calendars!
Lindsay Baker, Arlene Crewdson, Colin Donnell and Amanda Jacobs then thoroughly delighted the audience of rapt Janeites with the story of bringing Pride & Prejudice, the Musical to the Broadway stage. A fascinating account of their collaboration on music and lyrics, their years of work and their efforts to remain true to Austen’s story – they returned over and over to the book throughout this musical journey (and a very well worn and loved copy it was!)
The audience could not contain itself in wanting to see and hear from Colin Donnell (can his name REALLY be COLIN?!) – in their search for the perfect Mr. Darcy, they propped up all the head-shots of possibles on the kitchen counter and chose the one who most looked like Darcy to them…hoping fervently that he could SING! Which he quickly showed us all that indeed he could! Two songs from the show, Elizabeth’s “When I Fall in Love” and Darcy’s “Fine Eyes”gave us a taste of what is to come….just lovely, and everyone snapping pictures of this latest Darcy incarnation. Mr. Donnell was all accommodation – though he did admit that standing before all of us obsessed Janeites was quite a “daunting” task! [no worries, ” you had us at ‘hello’ “!]
The show is having its grand pre-Broadway debut on October 21 in Rochester, NY, the place where it all began. See their website at http://www.prideandprejudicebroadway.com/ for updates and information (and pictures!) about the cast. (I append two pictures here that I was able to get of Mr. Donnell, albeit a disappointment (the picture, not him!), but I did get to ask him what his Mom thought about his being Mr. Darcy…he said she has been very supportive and having fun with the whole idea, so kudos to her!) [I am not sure I could handle my son being Mr. Darcy…though he could be, or so I am told; but I do know that nothing on earth would get him to put on those leggings!]
Final Thoughts upon departing Chicago ~
So off to the airport and a moment to reflect, and notes on a few of the Emporium tables not posted on above that you can visit online…
A visit to the Chawton House Library table, manned by Gillian Dow, was the annual reminder of how important this resource library is, how much I love receiving their great publication The Female Spectator, and how even the smallest contribution is appreciated by them. See their website to learn more about their collection of books on women’s writing in English from 1600 to 1830 and upcoming events.
The Goucher College table had paper dolls for sale – all the heroes of Austen’s novels, designed by Donald Hendricks. I was most lucky to get there early, as my favorite Captain Wentworth was still available (though a tough choice between him, Darcy, and Henry Tilney!) Amused to find the following day that they were all gone except one –
Edmund Bertram rested alone on the table with no takers ~ perhaps it IS only Fanny who has eyes for Austen’s Mansfield Park hero! (and hopefully someone rescued him before the end of the day…)
Mr. Hendricks Paper Doll Gallery at Legacy Designs has many of the characters from Austen’s novels, and many more besides (perfect for holiday gifts…!)
Another table of must-have treats was the Juvenilia Press, with Juliet McMaster – this collection of the youthful writings of Austen as well as other authors, accompanied by McMaster’s engaging illustrations, should be added to everyone’s Austen library. See their website for information on ordering.
The new publisher of Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine, Tim Bullamore, was present to show us all the latest issue (Sept / Oct 2008) with its many changes. He is offering a 20% discount to all JASNA members, and though it is costly when coupled with the shipping, it is well worth the investment and another fine addition to your Austen collection. I will post more on this cram-packed issue, but in the meantime, you can read the free articles from previous issues available online at their website and news on the upcoming Nov / Dec issue.
So back to the real world! I am most thankful to the Chicago Chapter and especially William Phillips, and JASNA President Marsha Huff, and all the many other volunteers who made this such a terrific AGM! Four days of intelligent musings, good company, lovely fashions, laughter all around, tons of BOOKS and other Austen-inspired goodies, and time to ramble about in this bygone time…it just doesn’t get any better than this!