Making a Musical: Jane Eyre

Director Shana Prentiss describes the process in which she prepared for this year’s fall musical Jane Eyre.

Senior Libby Terril plays Jane Eyre during her days as a school teacher. photo by Helen Wheatley

by Sophy Silva and Helen Wheatley

Musical director Shana Prentiss sat down and discussed this year’s fall musical, Jane Eyre, which is based off of the classic novel. It takes place in the 19th century rural England and describes a young woman’s journey through her adulthood.

Why did you specifically choose Jane Eyre for this year’s fall musical?

“I had been thinking about showing Jane Eyre for a while now, but it was Mr. Karlin who encouraged me to go on with it,” Prentiss said. “I had originally listened to the soundtrack years ago, but the voice of Jane Eyre on it annoyed me. I finally was able to get past her voice, and I now see how beautiful the soundtrack really is.”

Prentiss also made the decision based on the number of parts, since STA has limited space in its theater program.

“It is a difficult process, both finding shows that we like and will work with the space available,” Prentiss said.

What do you like the most about Jane Eyre?

“I always choose musicals that have positive roles for women, and Jane Eyre has many of these,” Prentiss said. “I also really like the plot of the musical overall and all the mysterious twists throughout the story. I like that the story shows some of the tough decisions that Jane has to face, especially those of morality.”

Can you describe some of what you have to do in order to make the musical happen?

“I sometimes have to spend weekends and evenings after school in order to prepare for the show,” Prentiss said. “I sacrifice time with my family, especially during the last few days heading up to the show. However, directing musical theater is what I love to do, and I end up gaining more than I lose. I have been doing this for 16 years, and the musicals get better every time.”