By Glen Vaughn Petersen
The award-winning folk musical Prejudice and Pride will be featured at the Arts Asylum in Brookside starting June 16.
Prejudice and Pride is a modern, American, gender-swapped folk musical reimagining of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic Pride and Prejudice. Taking place from the stage at Hoedown Jane’s Bar, Grill & Shootin’ Range, banjo-picker Bennett Longborn sings the tale of how he and his brothers must find love–or at least empathy–before they lose the family farm in Longborn Hollow, Tennessee. When New York millionaires move into the luxurious Netty’s Field ranch next door, Papa Longborn sees this as the boys’ golden opportunity to marry rich. What proceeds afterwards is a “wrestle with gender roles, social expectations, and their own assumptions.”
Prejudice and Pride won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, one of the largest fringe festivals of its kind, pulling in over 3000 performers. Its roots, though, are deeply linked to Kansas City.
Sam Wright, the playwright of Prejudice and Pride and a Kansas City native, wrote it during the quarantine in 2020 and debuted the show in Kansas City in July of 2022. “I rang up my friend Nick and said ‘Hey, I think it’s time we actually try to write a musical,’” Wright recalls. Nicholas Collett, Sam’s friend and artistic director of the UK-based Third Party Productions, was excited by the prospect.
“It’s a fun twist on the idea of the original work to move what is essentially a comedy of manners into a more rustic, down-to-earth setting and see how it translates,” says Wright. After debuting in Kansas City, the musical traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2022, where it earned the prestigious #1 Best of Edinburgh Fringe award.
“The Arts Asylum is always honored to be able to be a part of storytelling, especially with Prejudice and Pride,” says Korey Childs, Artistic Director at the Arts Asylum. “We are so excited to have this born Kansas City project in our space before it travels to New York City. It is refreshing to be able to help bring new works to life.”
After its run at the Arts Asylum, Prejudice and Pride will be heading to New York City for a six-week Off-Broadway run, from July 13th to August 20th.
Prejudice and Pride will be performed from June 16th to July 2nd at the Arts Asylum, 824 E Meyer Blvd. For more information, visit theartsasylum.org.