Three Rivers High School Presents: Emma!

Cast of Emma! (Steph Hightree|Watershed Voice)

Jennifer Miller, director of Three Rivers High School’s production of EMMA!, spoke with Watershed Voice about the musical, which opens tonight at 7 p.m. at the Three Rivers High School Performing Arts Center. 

EMMA! is a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s famous novel. In this adaption, Emma is a high school senior who enjoys playing matchmaker for her friends but will her own happiness suffer as a result? The program includes songs by Shania Twain, Katy Perry, Whitney Houston and more.

Danielle Hensley (DH): From what I understand, Emma! is based upon the novel by Jane Austen. Can you tell me more about that?

Jennifer Miller (JM): Jane Austen was a literary genius. Her writing style included humor, irony, and girl power. We are excited to bring it to life on the stage.

DH: I saw that you directed the original version of Emma! before for the Three Rivers Community Players, how has the addition of music and choreography opened up new ideas for you as a director?

JM: Jane Austen is a personal favorite of mine. The essence of Emma is such a part of the show that adding music and choreography enhances the original story. 

DH: In your estimation, are dance choreography and stage blocking just as crucial to a play’s success as the dialogue and musical numbers?

JM: Choreography and stage blocking can make or break a show. Even if you have the best singers, if they are just standing there it loses the connection to the story being told. We’ve put hours into our choreography. Our choreographer, Emily Lough, is a recent graduate from TRHS Class of 2020. She was cast as Sophie in Mamma Mia!.

DH: How much of rehearsal has been dedicated to physical performance vs emotional and verbal?

JM: I’d like to say we have a good balance. A show is so much more than you see on stage.

DH: When and where will the show be held?

JM: Three Rivers High School Performing Arts Center, March 11, 12, 18 ,19 at 7 p.m., and March 13, 20 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students. EMMA! will follow standard COVID procedures of the school.

Danielle Hensley is a freelance writer and intern for Watershed Voice. She also writes her own blog called “Whatever the Eff I Want.” She enjoys spending time with family and bingeing Netflix.