Sense and Sensibility

This musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s first published novel is the first collaboration of composer Joshua Tyra (music & lyrics), based in Chicago, and playwright Gemma Cooper-Novack (book & lyrics), based in Boston. Joshua Tyra’s score draws its inspiration from the social music of Austen’s day, English country dance tunes and popular parlor songs. Gemma Cooper-Novack’s book engages the unique voices of Austen’s characters, connecting the novel’s scenarios in fresh, new ways. The lyrics in the piece draw upon several sources of inspiration, from Austen’s own words to the poetry and prose of her time to the stylistic ingenuity of W.S. Gilbert, creating a musical that captures the essence of the novel and the tone of Austen’s time with a thoughtful and playful flair.


Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are almost opposites in their approach to the world—Marianne is passionate and poetic, Elinor rational and organized.  After the death of their father, the Dashwood sisters and their mother move from their home in Norland Park to southern England; Elinor leaves behind a suitor out of necessity, while Marianne finds a new love.  When both receive startling news about the men they love, they seek the support both of their friends and neighbors and of one another, and discover that each has a little more of the other in her than she had thought.