Music fills 'Jane Eyre' in Theatre III production

Margaret Smith

Fans of the Bronte sisters’ novels, your time is now.

Jane Austen has been enjoying her day in sun, about two centuries long and counting.

But now, the other Jane of romantic literature – the equally immortal “Jane Eyre” of Emily Bronte’s pen – still holds her claim among the most, well, romantic heroines of fiction.

She’s more than “note” worthy, as Theatre III of Acton brings to the stage, “Jane Eyre: The Musical,” which – as you probably figured out from the title – is the classic, Gothic love story with singing in it.

And an orchestra, a live orchestra, to be even more romantic.

It’s the practice of Theatre III to open each new drama season with a musical, and when the rights became available to produce “Jane Eyre,” there was an air of serendipity as the drama group prepares for its 54th season.

With Austen enchanting a new generations, it was perhaps inevitable, and only fair, that her literary peers, the Bronte sisters, glean appreciation for their works.

The decision to open each season with a musical is both an artistic challenge and a practical strategy. Musicals have a loyal following, and fill seats, which enables the company to plan other productions.

The challenges lie in finding the right actors for the roles, who not only can sing, but can sing in a way that is true to the characters.

With a period play, musical or otherwise, there is always the goal of drawing a modern audience into the past, keeping the themes, characters and settings true while still accessible.

“The show is written in the model of a lot of shows over the past 20 years, the most obvious being ‘Les Miserables,’” said Theatre III publicist Tom Melander.

Like that play, “Jane Eyre: The Musical” reflects contemporary sentiments but strives to stay true to the darkly rich atmosphere of the story’s era.

Melander observed, “The music is meant to convey the story. I think there is a lot of resonance in the style of music as well as the play.”

Theatre III presents ‘Jane Eyre: The Musical’ Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 7 and 8, and Nov. 14 and 15, and Nov. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov.16 at 2 p.m. at Theatre III, 250 Central St., Acton. Tickets $21 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. For more information, or to buy tickets in advance, call 978-263-9070 or visit