Monday, August 18, 2008

Possessed: Announcing a New Pre-Raphaelite Musical!

What do you get when you combine Pre-Raphaelite art, an infamous love affair, and music? Possessed is a new musical that examines the life of Jane Burden, from her discovery by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to her meteoric rise to become one of the most popular and iconic models of her age, almost omnipresent in the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly those of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Possessed focuses on the relationship between Jane, her husband William Morris ("Topsy") and Rossetti. The full cast also includes Bessy, the Morris's housekeeper, Lizzie Siddal, Mr. Carter (the foreman of Morris & Co.), and Jane and William Morris’ two daughters, Jenny and May.

Playwright Teresa Howard became inspired to research Jane’s story following a William Morris exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum back in 1996. For Possessed, Howard (who has written a number of other plays) has teamed up with composer and arranger Steven Edis, who has written and arranged music for numerous theatre and television productions.

Not surprisingly, art plays a central role in the production. During the course of the musical, stained glass windows depicting the tale of Tristan and Isolde are constructed on stage, symbolising the close relationship between art and life and alluding to the link between the story being played out on stage and the story of Tristan and Isolde.

The musical was presented on April 27 at the Oxford Playhouse and was a great success, generating a great deal of interest in the project. Hopefully full scale production of the musical will begin at the end of next year...I can’t wait!

To learn more about this production, visit the The musical's official website. For up to the minute news and information, visit their blog, Putting it Together.

Rehearsal photo of Anna Francolini as Jane Morris and Joseph Millson as Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Rehearsal Photo by Charles Girdham © 2008, reprinted with permission of Teresa Howard


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

This sounds divine. William Morris is a hero of mine.

M.Kate said...

Ohh..I love so see this musical for sure :D

Teresa Howard said...

Thank you for the lovely review. I am going to try and get permission from the actors to put a bit of the DVD up on the web as you suggested. I will let you know the outcome - but it may take some time to get everyone to reply!
The photo looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info- I didn't know about it let alone that it had played at the Playhouse and no one told me. LOL

Margaret said...

Thanks, Teresa! Thank you for sharing the news abour your production!

Melanie: Unfortunately I didn't know about Possessed until just a few days ago! Hopefuly Teresa will be able to get some clips up on YouTube and there will be a full-scale production some time soon!

I'll do my best to keep everyone as informed as possible!

Fete et Fleur said...

This looks wonderful. I will go check it out. You have been on many adventures since I last was here. How fun!