Sense and Sensibility: A Comic Opera (co-written with Joshua Tyra)byGemma Cooper-Novack
Seventeen-year-old Marianne Dashwood is passionate and poetic, while her nineteen-year-old sister Elinor is rational and organized. As the play begins, their father dies (“Legacy”) and they struggle to adjust to changes in their lives. Elinor refuses to admit her attraction to Edward Ferrars; Marianne despairs of finding a man to her standards (“A Growing Attachment”). Their father has left his fortune to their...
Seventeen-year-old Marianne Dashwood is passionate and poetic, while her nineteen-year-old sister Elinor is rational and organized. As the play begins, their father dies (“Legacy”) and they struggle to adjust to changes in their lives. Elinor refuses to admit her attraction to Edward Ferrars; Marianne despairs of finding a man to her standards (“A Growing Attachment”). Their father has left his fortune to their half-brother and his vindictive wife, who refuse to provide for their relatives (“Generosity”); however, a distant relative, Sir John Middleton, invites Marianne, Elinor, and their mother to move to a small cottage on his property (“To My Cousin”). The Dashwoods say “Farewell to Norland.”
The Dashwoods meet Sir John Middleton, Lady Middleton, and Mrs Jennings, the residents “At Barton Park.” Marianne’s musical talent is admired by the group at large (“First Love”), but particularly by Colonel Brandon, a wealthy middle-aged man. Mrs Jennings notices Colonel Brandon’s attraction and determines that both Dashwood sisters will be “Married by Midsummer.”
Edward pays a brief visit, making Elinor realize how much she missed him (“A Country Parson”); Marianne meets Willoughby, a passionate, romantic man whose every taste matches hers (“My Preserver”). But sisters Nancy and Lucy Steele, arrive at Barton, and Elinor learns that Edward has long been secretly engaged to Lucy Steele (“Impertinence”). The sense of jealousy is “Unfamiliar” to Elinor, and she tries to hide it; Marianne is only too eager to show her feelings for Willoughby (“Exactly What I Think”).Elinor is horrified by Marianne’s open expressions of affection (“The Pleasantness of an Employment”). This increases tension between the two sisters, compounded when Marianne learns Willoughby must leave her to go to London. Colonel Brandon suddenly departs as well. However, Mrs Jennings invites both Dashwoods to London for “The Season.”
At a party in London, Elinor runs into Lucy; although Lucy and Edward’s engagement remains a secret, Lucy is still delighted to meet Edward’s family, including his brother Robert (“Excessively Fond of a Cottage”). However, the party comes to a halt when Marianne sees Willoughby singing a duet (“On a Hillside Green with Clover”) with another woman and refusing to acknowledge his intimacy with Marianne (“Mr Willoughby’s Maggot”). Marianne and Elinor are devastated to learn that Willoughby is engaged to this woman, Sophia Grey. Colonel Brandon tries to comfort Elinor, telling her that Willoughby recently committed a terrible offense against a member of Colonel Brandon’s family, “A Girl Like Marianne.” Nonetheless, Marianne falls ill, close to death. Hearing this news, Willoughby runs to Elinor and tries to explain his behavior (“Expensive Taste”), but she refuses to speak with him.
Marianne does recover, though, and resolve to change her behavior “From This Day Forward”—including, possibly, acknowledging her feelings towards Colonel Brandon. She is soon distracted, though, when Lucy and Edward’s engagement becomes public knowledge and she learns of Elinor’s “Misery.” In spite of this, Elinor continues to extend friendship to Edward when his mother disinherits him (“Perhaps There’s a Place”) and finds a bit of Marianne in her when John and Fanny try to lay claim to “Generosity (Reprise).” With Marianne recovered, the sisters decide to return home.
Back at Barton, they are greeted by tremendous news—Lucy has married Edward’s brother Robert, who was not disinherited. Edward proposes to Elinor (“A Country Parson (Reprise)”), and she accepts. The two marry, and encourage the budding romance between Marianne and Colonel Brandon (“Second Love”).
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Sense and Sensibility: A Comic Opera (co-written with Joshua Tyra)