Most readers prefer Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, but critics generally regard Emma as Austen's most carefully crafted or skillfully written novel.
Austen herself acknowledged that Emma might present a problem for readers, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." And much about Emma is indeed unlikable; she is snobbish, vain, manipulative, power-hungry, self-deluded, often indifferent to the feelings of others, and on at least one occasion terribly cruel.
Does the comedy of watching Emma the Egoist get her comeuppance through a series of errors and admit she deserved her comeuppance make her likable? Although Emma knows what the right thing to do is, she still behaves badly; does this all too common human trait make her sympathetic because readers can identify with her?
The answer to the audience of Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Emma, which first debuted at Cleveland Play House in 2010, and is now going to premiere in Chicago on April 18.
“Dead Writers Theatre Collective prides itself on presenting theater with premier production values and the highest caliber of period authenticity,” says Dead Writers Theater Collective Artistic Director Schneider.
“For ‘Emma,’ audiences will see sets replete with antique furnishings and properties, and rich period-perfect costumes developed by our top-notch design team from their extensive research into 19th Century England. Against that background, the talented cast will add period-appropriate poise, music and dance to elicit the delightful ethos of the era and ultimately transport audiences to Austen’s world.”
The cast for “Emma” features Heather Chrisler (Emma Woodhouse), Jerry Bloom (Mr. Woodhouse), Ben Muller* (Mr. George Nightly), Hillary Sigale* (Harriet Smith), Brandon Johnson* (Frank Churchill), Megan DeLay (Jane Fairfax), Lorelei Sturm (Mrs. Weston), Brad Davidson (Mr. Weston), Kevin Sheehan (Phillip Elton), Maeghan Looney (Augusta Elton), Sara Minton* (Miss Bates), Joyce Saxon (Mrs. Bates), Nick Bonges (Robert Martin) and Jerico Bleu, Kamron Palmer, William Czerwoinka and Andrea Young (Servants).