In this charmingly imagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice, the ever-dependable Mary Bennet is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love.
This world premiere play picks up two years after Jane Austen’s beloved tale ended, with a clever and captivating style that will delight Austen aficionados and new-comers alike!
“A newly imagined, utterly beguiling, delicious world premiere production. The show is a gem – ideal for the holiday season!”- Chicago Sun-Times
This production is supported in part by an Edgerton Foundation for New Plays Award.
Chuck Osgood Photography
by Hedy Weiss
November 19, 2016
At Northlight, a beguiling sequel to ‘Pride and Prejudice’
When you last heard about them — at the end of Jane’s Austen’s ever-engaging masterpiece “Pride and Prejudice” — the five financially challenged Bennet sisters (from oldest to youngest, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia) were in various states of marriage and singledom.
After much sturm und drang, Elizabeth was to marry the dreamy and wealthy Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The man-crazed Lydia managed to avoid a catastrophic scandal — marrying Wickham, the soldier and bounder, thanks to the generous (and covert) support of Darcy. And Jane was marrying Mr. Bingley, another well-to-do gentleman. Kitty, initially in the Lydia mold, appeared to be maturing and settling down a bit. As for the plain, bookish, rather literal Mary, Austen seems to suggest she is destined for spinsterdom.
But now comes “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” the newly imagined, utterly beguiling dramatic “sequel” to Austen’s novel. Written with great panache by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, it is receiving a delicious world premiere production by Northlight Theatre — where Jessica Thebus, an impeccable director, has gathered a stellar cast that moves into 18th century English society as if to the manor born, yet at the same time infuses everything with a thoroughly modern comic edge. The show is a gem — ideal for the holiday season but also sure to prove evergreen.
Chicago Theater Beat
by Catey Sullivan
November 18, 2016
With Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, playwrights Margot Melcon and Lauren Gunderson craft a sparkling, witty, feel-good rom-com that is also a sharp, trenchant commentary on the perils of institutionalized misogyny. Director Jessica Thebus strikes a perfect balance in Christmas at Pemberley: She instills it with a fizzy, charming ebullience throughout, but also shows with laser-like clarity the desperation and despair that engulf women without agency.
by Chris Jones
November 22, 2016
Nerdy Miss Bennet has her day in ‘Christmas at Pemberley’
When Jane Austen wrote “Pride and Prejudice” in the early years of the 19th century, there was no heroic place for the unreconstructed nerd in the throbbing romantic novel. Even though Austen wrote about a society family, the Bennets, blessed with five daughters, you can turn a page or blink an eye and miss the dweeby Mary Bennet, the boring one who liked to play the pianoforte and read alone. No dude attached. Like, ever.
Austen could not have anticipated the techno-fueled rise of the geek squad, of course, and I suspect she would have been amazed to see her middle sister — a sibling so dull she disappears for broad stretches of the novel — at the center of her own holiday-themed show. Pitched at a carefully contemporary feminist tangent by the gifted playwright Lauren Gunderson, working here with Margot Melcon, “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” is a droll and quite delicious seasonal sequel to “Pride and Prejudice,” a period pairing of Mary with a gentleman as awkwardly bookish as herself and thus a celebration of nerd love in all its overeducated glory.
Samantha is delighted to be working at Northlight. Other Chicago credits include: You Can’t Take it With You (u/s, Northlight Theatre); Red Bud (Signal Ensemble); In Loco Parentis (Next Theatre); The Explorers Club (u/s, Windy City Playhouse); and The Beecher Sisters (Awkward Pause). NYC: Three Sisters (Gowanus Arts + Production); and Kassandra (Juilliard Drama). Regional: A Christmas Story and Sleep Rock Thy Brain (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Sam is also a playwright and her plays include Thing 100 (NHSI Cherubs, Agnes Nixon Festival), Welcome to the Laborhood (Northlight Education), and the book for a new musical, Mill Girls (The Music Theatre Company). Her play, The Snare, will premiere this season at Jackalope Theatre. Ed: Actors Theatre of Louisville Apprenticeship, Northwestern University.
Emily is thrilled to make her Northlight debut in Miss Bennet. Chicago credits include Sense and Sensibility (Chicago Shakespeare); Sondheim on Sondheim (Porchlight) and Days Like Today (Writers). Regional credits include Sense and Sensibility (Old Globe) and Assassins, The Diary of Annie Frank, and Hum of the Arctic (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). Emily is a graduate of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Artistic Internship program, and holds her BFA in Acting from the University of Michigan. Thanks to Emily’s loved ones for their constant love and support. www.emilygraceberman.com
Alex is happy to be back at Northlight where previous credits include Shining Lives, Civil War Christmas and She Stoops to Conquer. Other Chicago credits: Hero: The Musical (Jeff Award, Best Supporting Actor – Musical), ELF the musical; On The Town; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; For The Boys; How Can You Run … (Marriott); Old Jews Telling Jokes (Royal George); The Comedy of Errors, One Man Two Guvnors (Court); Everything Is Illuminated (Next); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Indiana Repertory); The Emperor’s New Clothes, Taming of the Shrew, Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare); Goodnight Moon, and Harold and the Purple Crayon (Chicago Children’s Theater). He loves his wife and two kids very much.
Arthur de Bourgh
Erik is happy to be returning to Northlight after The Commons of Pensacola and Lost in Yonkers. Select Chicago credits: Luna Gale (Goodman and Center Theatre Group, LA); The Good Book, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, Proof (Jeff Nomination – Supporting Actor), The Comedy of Errors, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Jeff Nomination – Lead Actor), Titus Andronicus and Arcadia (Court); Eastland (Lookingglass); Hesperia (Writers); The Madness of King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare); Honest, The Elephant Man and Huck Finn (Steppenwolf). He is a company member of Strawdog. Select regional credits: Kirk Douglas Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory. Film/TV: The Dark Knight, The Chicago Code, Boss, Betrayal, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.
Summer is honored to be working at Northlight! Selected Chicago credits include Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook (Underscore Theatre); Educating Rita (Citadel Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew and Cymbeline (Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre) and Spring Awakening and The House of Bernarda Alba (Loyola University). She also recently performed an original cabaret at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret with her friend Ryan entitled What’s My Type Again? Summer is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and Loyola University Chicago. www.summerhofford.com
Roberto is ecstatic to be working with Northlight on Miss Bennet! Born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin, he has lived in Louisville KY, where he completed the Actors Theatre of Louisville Acting Apprenticeship in 2013, New York City, where he worked as an actor for The Director’s Company and Columbia University, and now Chicago, where he has worked with Latino playwrights Jose Rivera at The Goodman and Elaine Romero at ABT. Other Chicago Credits include The Royal Society of Antarctica at The Gift Theatre, Pinocchio: A Folk Musical at Filament Theatre, and The Rose Tattoo at Shattered Globe. Roberto is dedicated to the magic of artistry in Chicago and loves making music on Sunday mornings!
Jennifer is so excited to be working at Northlight for the first time! She is a Georgia peach at heart, but actually enjoys the cold of the Midwest. Her most recent credits include Ann in The African Company Presents Richard III and Chloe in Arcadia (American Players Theatre). Jennifer is so thrilled to begin her Chicago career with Miss Bennett and looks forward to what the future has in store. Much thanks and love to Mom, Dad, John, Uncle Marion and all my family across the world.
Tosin is the founder of the Multicultural Theatre Initiative, where he served as Artistic Director for two years and produced four of his own original plays. His stage appearances include Northlight’s Bulter, Goodman, New Victory (Off-Broadway), Lookingglass, Court, Unicorn, Creede Repertory, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and Coterie, where he was Resident Artist for two years. In 2014, Tosin was honored with Best Supporting Actor from the Black Theatre Alliance for his role in The Gospel of Lovingkindness at Victory Gardens. In 2015, he wrote and directed his own original film On Sight. Other film: Destination Planet Negro, If Night Comes and Falling Apples. TV: Chicago Med (recurring role), Empire, Chicago Fire and APB. Tosin is a member of “Those People” Comedy and represented by Stewart Talent Chicago. tosinmorohunfola.com onsightfilm.com
Aila is excited to be making her debut at Northlight Theatre! Chicago theatre credits include The Royal Society of Antarctica (The Gift Theatre); 1984 (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); Brahman/I: A One Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show (About Face/Silk Road Rising) and The Elephant and the Whale (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Boston theatre credits: Brahman/I: A One Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show (CompanyOne) and The Who and the What (Huntington Theatre). Aila is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is represented by Gray Talent Group. Special thanks to her family for their endless love and support.
Anne de Bourgh
Bri is thrilled to return to Northlight after playing Charlotte in Shining Lives. Other Chicago credits include Ruth in Wonderful Town (Goodman); Road Show, Pericles, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, The Tempest u/s and Tug of War: Foreign Fire u/s (Chicago Shakespeare); Far From Heaven (Porchlight) and regionally at the Milwaukee Rep, Utah, Arkansas and Texas Shakespeare Festivals. Bri received her MFA in Acting from The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and holds a degree in Sign Language Interpreting.
Jessica is a director of theater and an educator based in Chicago. Past Northlight credits include The Book of Will, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Shining Lives: A Musical, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Inherit the Wind and Red Herring. At Steppenwolf, she has directed Sex with Strangers, Intimate Apparel, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, No Place Like Home, When the Messenger is Hot (also at 59 E 59th in NYC) and Sonia Flew. Other favorite projects: Richard III (Gift), In the Garden by Sarah Gmitter (Lookingglass), Buzzer by Tracy Scott Wilson (Goodman), Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next), As You Like It (Oregon Shakespeare), The Feast: an intimate Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare with Redmoon). She is Director of the Graduate Directing Program at Northwestern University.
Lauren is the most produced living playwright in America for 2016, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Co. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit, Pursued By A Bear, and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists (Silent Sky, Bauer) and Samuel French (Emilie). She is a proud Dramatists Guild member. She is from Atlanta, GA and lives in San Francisco. LaurenGunderson.com and @LalaTellsAStory
Margot is the Program Executive for Promoting Culture at the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Previously, she was the literary manager and dramaturg at Marin Theatre Company where she produced the New Works Reading Series and administered two annual new play prize competitions in addition to acting as production dramaturg. Prior to joining Marin Theatre in 2008, she worked in the literary and publications departments at A.C.T. in San Francisco. She is a freelance writer for American Theatre magazine and was a fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O’Neill Playwrights Festival. She is a graduate of California State University, Chico.
Richard & Jacqueline Penrod
Richard and Jacqueline are very happy to be collaborating once again with Northlight, having previously designed Gee’s Bend, Pride and Prejudice, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Mystry of Irma Vep, At Wit’s End, and Over the Tavern. Recent designs include: Pygmalion, Northanger Abbey, Love and Information, and The Importance of Being Earnest (Remy Bumppo); Apartment 3A, and Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse); Nice Work If You Can Get It, Big Fish, and All Shook Up (Theatre at the Center); Richard III (Gift Theatre at Steppenwolf); Mud Sky Blue (Red Orchid); Luck of the Irish and Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (American Blues Theatre); Barnum and The Christmas Schooner (Mercury) and Around The World In Eighty Days (Lookingglass). They have received many nominations and awards for their design work. Jacqueline is an Associate Professor in the Theatre Department at Columbia College Chicago. Richard runs the technical theatre program for New Trier High School.
Melissa is thrilled to be working with the artists at Northlight. Melissa is a Chicago and Bay Area based designer, and a company member with The House Theatre of Chicago. Projects include You Never Can Tell, King Lear and The Verona Project (Cal Shakes Theatre); City of Angels (San Francisco Playhouse); A Long Day’s Journey into Night, Native Son, Jitney, and The Mountaintop (Court); Invisible Hand, The Fantasticks, Anne Frank, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Kansas City Rep); Little Shop of Horrors (Cleveland Playhouse); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare); The Last Wife (Timeline); The Last Defender, The Iron Stag King, The Crownless King, The Excelsior King, Rose and the Rime, and The Magnificents (The House Theatre); Peter Pan (Lookingglass); Samuel J and K (Steppenwolf); Grease (American Theatre Company); James and the Giant Peach (First Stage Milwaukee) Chapter Two (Windy City Playhouse); My Fair Lady, Joseph…Dreamcoat, and Hair (Paramount Theatre); Gypsy, Aida, and Sugar (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Not Wanted on the Voyage (American Musical Theatre Project, Northwestern University); The Importance of Being Earnest (Jeff Nomination, Remy Bumppo); and Abigail’s Party, and Butcher of Baraboo (A Red Orchid). Upcoming Projects include; Native Son (Marin Theatre); Silent Night (Opera San Jose); and Robin Hood (First Stage Milwaukee).
Sarah is pleased to be working on her eighth design with Northlight after Miss Bennet, The City of Conversation, Discord, Butler, The Commons of Pensacola, Tom Jones and Black Pearl Sings!. Recent Chicago credits include Vietgone, The Scene, Doubt: A Parable, The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers); Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass); Straight White Men (Steppenwolf); Moby Dick (Blair Thomas & Co.); Cocked, The Who and the What, Samsara (Victory Gardens). Other recent credits include Crossing Mnisose and Sense and Sensibility (Portland Center Stage); The Cake (Asolo Rep); and As You Like It (Guthrie Theater). Ms. Hughey has received a Jeff Award (Scorched, Silk Road Rising), and the Maggio Emerging Designer Award. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University.
Original Music & Sound Design
Kevin is thrilled be back at Northlight where previous credits include Cry It Out, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Miss Bennet, You Can’t Take it With You, The Lady with All the Answers, and Inherit the Wind. As a composer and sound designer he has received 10 Jeff Awards (20 nominations), and is a company member with The House Theatre. Locally he has worked with Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Lookingglass, Court, and many others. Regionally: The Pasadena Playhouse, The Southern Rep, Le Petite Theatre, The Seattle Rep, The Signature Theatre, The Olney Theatre Center, The Adrienne Arscht Center of Miami, and others. He is also a drummer.
Kimberly Ann McCann
Kimberly is excited to be returning to Northlight Theatre. Her Northlight credits include Book of Will, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, You Can’t Take it With You and Civil War Christmas. Chicago credits: Having Our Say, A View from the Bridge, Objects in the Mirror, Gloria, and Wonderful Town (Goodman) and Million Dollar Quartet. Broadway: Curtains. Off-Broadway credits: Bill W. and Dr. Bob, How to Save the World, John Ferguson. Regional: Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Skylight Music Theatre, and Milwaukee Rep. Other credits include Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and numerous productions at The Juilliard School. Kimberly is a proud member of Actors Equity.
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