Dear Miss Barrett Reading in New York City

It’s quite a joy to see a project continue to take flight over years. In 2014 I recorded some demos for composer Michael Kurek and his new musical Dear Miss Barrett, and this week we did our first reading of selected songs at the Browning Society meeting, held at the National Arts Club in New York City. I certainly hope this won’t be our last time singing these songs together - this cast makes simply delightful company!

The preview featured writer Michael Kurek and special guests Crystal Kurek (as Elizabeth Barrett Browning), Leslie Eiler Thompson (as Sarah Martin), Deron Ryan Martel (as Robert Browning), Tyler Evick (as Henry Lane), and Adam Rothenberg (pianist).

Sarah Martin, 24, manages a rare-book shop / tea room in an American city.  She adores all things Victorian and dreams of living in a more civilized era. Her “kindred spirit across time” is Victorian English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  In 1845, Elizabeth dreams of escaping the dark London room where, in frail health, she is kept a virtual prisoner by her domineering Papa. Forbidden by Papa ever to marry, Elizabeth receives an extraordinary fan letter from the young, rising literary star, Robert Browning.  In the present, Sarah receives an equally extraordinary offer from her boyfriend Henry, and two fabulous love stories, sumptuously told in gorgeous melodies and charming dialog, unfold back and forth across time. Richly embroidered with their many historic letters and poems, spoken or exquisitely sung, the Brownings’ little-told yet astonishing romance is given fresh relevance through the trials and humorous adventures of an endearing modern couple. This is a full-evening show with 24 original songs and a cast of around a dozen, including the two lead couples, Papa Barrett, and an ensemble who play various roles.

Leslie Eiler Thompson