Cover image for Jane Eyre the musical : original Broadway cast recording
Jane Eyre the musical : original Broadway cast recording
Gordon, Paul (Composer)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Sony Classical, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 audio disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Synopsis and lyrics (34 p. : ill.) inserted in container.
The orphan -- Children of God -- Forgiveness -- The graveyard --Sweet liberty -- Secrets of the house -- Perfectly nice -- As good as you --Secret soul -- The finer things -- The pledge -- Sirens -- Things beyond this earth -- Painting her portrait -- In the light of the virgin morning -- The gypsy -- The proposal -- Slip of a girl -- Sirens reprise -- Farewell, good angel -- My maker -- Rain -- The voice across the moors -- Poor sister -- Brave enough for love.
Subject Term:
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
MUSICAL .G664 JAN Compact Disc Central Library

On Order



It is no accident that the oversized operettas which became big successes in the musical theater starting in the 1980s, notably Les Misérables (1985) and The Phantom of the Opera (1986), were based on gothic novels written or set in the 19th century, since they provided opportunities for using elements of romantic classical music in the service of complicated plots and strong, if unrealistically good and bad characters. (And it didn't hurt that the stories were out of copyright.) Though such long-running musicals seemed on the verge of dominating musical theater at the time, and were still being performed at the end of the century, the trend had receded by then. Jane Eyre, which opened on Broadway on December 10, 2000 (shortly after the release of this cast album), attempted to revive the trend. Because John Caird, the co-adapter and co-director of the English-language version of Les Misérables, was the librettist, co-lyricist, and co-director of the show, and because John Napier, who designed Les Misérables, also designed it, Jane Eyre was billed in its early advertisements as brought to you by the creators of Les Misérables, a claim that was more than a little deceptive but that revealed something of the producers' intentions. In fact, just as Charlotte Brontë's story of the life of an English governess is not written on the scale of Victor Hugo's lengthy study of French society, so composer/co-lyricist Paul Gordon's musical version of Jane Eyre is not in a league with Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's score for Les Misérables, though that doesn't mean he hasn't tried. His music is full of sweeping romantic passages and his lyrics are wordy, if not witty. There are occasional minor respites from the seemingly endless string of sub-operatic arias, notably the comic housekeeper's song "Perfectly Nice" and "The Finer Things," sung by Jane Eyre's wealthy rival. But they aren't enough to counter the overall impression of yet another musical in which the major characters seem to be bellowing out their overwrought feelings all evening. This is not lessened by Gordon's excessive tendency to have people sing duets with different lyrics, so that you have trouble figuring out what they're saying. (Maybe he had so much plot to get through that he decided to double up whenever he could.) Marla Schaffel seems to be attempting an impersonation of Julie Andrews (minus Andrews' charm) in the title role, while James Barbour sounds like he was brought over from one of Frank Wildhorn's similar efforts, such as Jekyll & Hyde. Maybe Jane Eyre just is not a good source for musical adaptation, or maybe it demands a more imaginative creative team than the one that mounted this version. ~ William Ruhlmann