I wish I had thought of this when I was in high school, let me tell you. I came across this article from the East Valley Tribune about a new musical version of Jane Austen’s Emma, and I thought, “Now this is genius!”

Jane Austen's Emma

Jane Austen’s Emma. From EastValleyTribune.com

You see, in high school and then in college, we are always looking for projects for English classes, and professors like unusual, creative projects, too. I remember one time writing a sequel to Animal Farm, setting 17th-century poetry to rock and punk music, making a storyboard and soundtrack for a horror movie version of something or other, and even spoofing Monty Python by making a movie, “The Quest for the Scarlet Letter!”

Forget that noise.

Make a musical!

Imagine the possibilities!

  • Winston Smith learns to dance in 1984!
  • Montag and Clara sing about leaves smelling like clove in Fahrenheit 451!
  • Frankenstein’s monster has trouble talking, but, man, can he sing!
  • Pearl is truly a rock and roll demon child in The Scarlet Letter!
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream becomes a hippy pot trip complete with psychedelic rock!

I could go on and on! With lots of exclamation points!

But I will stop. I could even see myself recording a song or two. I know any one of my English teachers would have loved it. The trick is to make it so that you have thought about the work of literature and re-imagined it in a way that amplifies but doesn’t change the main themes. A new setting that makes sense? That’s cool. Doing it just because? Not cool.

Try it. And if you do, send me a link to it.

Now I want to dance!