Northanger Abbey | Lifeline Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Stephanie Stocksill and Javier Ferreira

Stephanie Stocksill and Javier Ferreira

Suzanne Plunkett

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 17 2016
Price: $40
This musical stage version of Jane Austen's first novel (which was written circa 1798 but not published till after her death in 1817) is an engaging piece of theatrical storytelling, with a captivating lead performance by soprano Stephanie Stockstill. She plays Catherine, the naive teenage daughter of a country parson. Invited to the spooky ancient abbey home of a young clergyman she's falling in love with, she dreams of becoming the heroine of a romantic thriller like the Gothic novels she adores reading—but instead awakens to the more mysterious complexities of real life. Playwright Robert Kauzlaric and songwriter George Howe effectively convey Austen's wry humor and observant insights into human behavior (though the first act could use some pruning), and Howe's appropriately Mozartean score is played impeccably by a classical piano trio. —Albert Williams
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