Theater Stages Playful Pride and Prejudice

By Scott Craig   |   October 25, 2018
Sean McElrath (Mr. Darcy) and Emi Brewer (Miss Binlgey) in Pride and Prejudice

Westmont Theatre Arts brings a contemporary energy and sense of humor to its staging of Pride and Prejudice on Thursday, October 25, and Saturday, October 27, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, October 28, at 2 pm, all in Westmont’s Porter Theatre. Tickets to the play, which is based on the novel by Jane Austen and adapted by Kate Hamill in 2017, cost $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students, and may be purchased online at

“I hope that lovers of Jane Austen will leave fully satisfied and delighted by the production,” says director Mitchell Thomas, professor of theatre arts, “and that audience members who’ve never read or seen Pride and Prejudice will walk away talking about how funny, beautiful, and human these characters all are.”

Hamill’s adaptation holds fast to Austen’s rich and enduring work, while delivering a zany, playful, and boldly open-hearted exploration of the story for today. In one memorable scene, Mr. Darcy (Sean McElrath) for the first time professes his love for Elizabeth Bennet (Cierra Denning), and both characters are totally stunned by the admission. “The scene is so funny, lovely, true, and shocking all at once,” Thomas says. “As we were rehearsing, I just had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be able to work with this wonderful material. What a story!”

Westmont alumna Lynne Martens ’08 is costume designer for the production, which is set in the Regency era of England. “The costumes are fantastic,” Thomas says, “and Lynne just happens to be a huge Austen fan.

Cierra Denning (Elizabeth Bennett) and Sean McElrath in Pride and Prejudice

Choral Fest Combines High School Voices 

Westmont’s annual Fall Choral Festival, featuring more than 300 high school singers in ensembles from 12 area high schools, join voices with the Westmont Choir, Choral Union, and Chamber Singers on Friday, October 26, at 4:45 pm at the Music Academy of the West and 7 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 21 East Constance Avenue. Half of the high school choirs will perform at 4:45 pm and the remaining half will perform at 7 pm prior to the Westmont College Choir’s opening concert of the season. Both performances are free and open to the public, though seating is limited. For more information, please call (805) 565-6040.

The festival features singers from Righetti High School, Chatsworth Charter High School, Fresno Christian, Rosemead High School, Redlands Adventist Academy, Mira Monte High School, Highland High School, Providence: A Santa Barbara Christian School, Agoura High School, Maranatha High School, Cate School, and Crean Lutheran High School. 

The Westmont College Choir program includes a diverse array of choral music, including the soaring Renaissance motet “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” by Thomas Weelkes, Bach’s exciting motet for double choir “Das ist Meine Freude” and works by classic American composers Eric Whitacre and Randall Thompson.

“The choir’s program will include some surprisingly up-tempo works of contemporary American composers that reach out to fresh styles of musical expression and draw their inspiration from the popular song writing of Carly Simon and the music of Kenya,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship and college choir director.

The concert will debut Westmont’s new Jaeckel continuo pipe organ accompanying the Bach motet.

The festival will conclude with all the high school groups combining to perform a mass choral piece, “O Come, You Servants,” by Christopher Tye.

Before performing, the students will attend workshops with Westmont professors Grey Brothers, Michael Shasberger, Steve Hodson, Nichole Dechaine, and Robert Rockabrand.


You might also be interested in...