Jay Richard's "Jane Eyre: A New Musical" to Premiere This Weekend

Feb 14, 2013

“Jane Eyre” is the unconventional love story of the young governess Jane who falls in love with her much-older employer, Mr. Rochester. Cache Valley’s Jay Richards, a nationally known composer, took the challenge to put Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel to music.

Reporter Dani Hayes joins the cast backstage while they rehearsed the song “Wicked Children” days before its premiere at the Ellen Eccles Theater in Logan on Thursday. It was 15 years ago when Richards began this production of his first real attempt at musical theater. His primary focus at the time was orchestral music, and finding that the skills he hoped would transfer didn’t, he put the music on the back burner.

"The music I had written literally sat in a drawer for 15 years, and I never thought I'd pull it out again," Richards said. "Just last year, I pulled it out and thought, 'You know ... this is good stuff. I need to finish this."

Richards believes that music has the power to push emotion over the edge. He said he was captivated by the story of Jane Eyre and wanted to amplify the emotions he felt as he read the novel.

"If I can find a musical language or a vocabulary that breaks down your barrier as an audience members and makes you say, 'The music went to my heart and forced me to feel what you wanted me to feel,' I think in a lot of ways, at the right moment, if music is used correctly, it can magnify all of those emotions times 10." he said.

Richards is known nationally by his work with Little Women and composing music for The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. He could take himself to bigger cities but stays in Cache Valley because of the quality art world he finds. What he says about this area is that “You can’t swing your purse without knocking down an artist of some kind.”

Jane Eyre premieres Thursday-Saturday and Monday-Tuesday in Logan. Click here for samples of the soundtrack and for ticket information, contact the Ellen Eccles Theater.

Reporter Dani Hayes wrote a print version that can be found here on Hard News Cafe, an online newspaper for the Journalism and Communications Department at Utah State University.

Credit Dani Hayes