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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jane Eyre meets Frank Sinatra- I mean, Mr Rochester

I would like to make a request to anyone considering making a musical out of Jane Eyre. Please, do not call it "Jane Eyre: The Musical." There are already three shows by that name, and it makes it very difficult for me to refer to them without confusion! Therefore, I will only refer to the Broadway show as 'Jane Eyre: The Musical' and the others by composer and/or date.

So, this is the 3rd Jane Eyre musical I have mentioned on Bronteana. The other is the rather nice York/Williams production from the early 1990s. This one is from "The Broadway Threatre Production, London" and was written in the 1960s. Lyrics are by Hal Sharper and Roy Harley Lewis. The music is by Monty Stevens. I have only heard one song so far: Mr Rochester's only song, "Jane". I am wondering if this is a good thing- that he only has one song. I don't think it is. It would be difficult to come up with a more terrible song, really. But it's just so funny that I would hate to have to do without it. This sums it up perfectly:

"It's Mr Rochester singing in a bar, dressed up like Frank Sinatra!"

Indeed, my first impression was that it sounds precisely as though Mr Rochester, in an absent moment strolled past the piano and noticing that he was alone, decided to pretend he was a lounge singer- right down to the 'dum-dee-dum' tone of it all and the really bad "Jane, Jane, you're running through my brain' lyrics.

I am assured that 'it gets worse', and since there's a song about a servant in love with someone named 'Gregory', I am not at all surprised!

The CD is available- in a way- from amazon.com, here.


Anonymous said...

I own this version, the Gordon-Caird (in both incarnations) and the Thompson/Kilpatrick/Skousen. My definite preference is the G-C and I think the other two are greatly inferior.

About the only good thing I can say of the British version is that it makes the T/K/S score sound pretty good. I haven't listened to the former in quite a while (it's painful to do so) but what I remember is that most of the liner notes were devoted to explaining why the show's Rochester couldn't record his part and why the show never made it to the West End.

Brontëana said...

The music isn't that bad- sometimes it really doesn't suit the tone of the work but otherwise it's very catchy and more like the traditional musical score.

If you still have the notes, I'd like to take a look at them. I know almost nothing about the production- and I thought it was odd that Rochester only got one song!