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The Gothic Romance of "Jane Eyre" on Stage with The American Ballet Theatre

Isabella Boylston and Thomas Forster in Jane Eyre. Photo: Gene Schiavone.
A thus-far strong season at American Ballet Theatre continued memorably on the evening of Wednesday, June 5th, of the fluidly staged, dramatically effective Jane Eyre, a 2016 adaptation of the eponymous Charlotte Brontë novel, which received its company premiere the night before, in a co-production with the Joffrey Ballet.
Originally presented by Northern Ballet in the U.K., the work is inventively choreographed, although in conformity to classical norms, by Cathy Marston. The score, here conducted by Charles Barker, largely consists of music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn, and Frank Schubert, arranged by Philip Feeney, who composed some excellent original music. The production is visually striking, impressively exploiting the possibilities for effects of depth in the staging, with costumes and set design by Patrick Kinmonth, who collaborated on the scenario, and lighting by Brad Fields.
The evening I attended featured a fine cast with the talented Isabella Boylston in the title role, ably partnered by a dashing Thomas Forster as Rochester, although one could have imagined a more dramatically weighty pairing with, for example, David Hallberg and Natalia Osipova. The secondary cast included: Skylar Brandt, replacing Breanne Granlund, as the young Jane; Duncan Lyle as St. John Rivers; Blaine Hoven as the Headmaster; Cassandra Trenary as Mrs. Fairfax; Hee Seo as Blanche Ingram; and Stephanie Williams as Bertha Mason, Rochester’s mad wife. The admirable corps de ballet was characteristically superb.
This production is an interesting addition to the company’s repertoire and it will be worth revisiting in future seasons.

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