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ARTICLES & REVIEWS: What the press is saying about Marla


(Reviews below)
Talking Tony: Schaffel Nearly Didn't Take Eyre Role
Hap Erstein, The Palm Beach Post
June 3, 2001

"It is daunting to even think of the Tony, but it is also the dream of a lifetime," she says. "I would be lying to you if I said I didn't fantasize about it." At the moment, Schaffel is working on keeping her expectations in check. "You know what? My dad is going to sit next to me and I'm going to enjoy watching his face," she says. "I think that's going to be my favorite part." (full text)

Jane Eyre from Dade didn't even study story
Joan Fleischman, The Miami Herald
February 25, 2001

Her folks, builder Marty Schaffel and wife Bette of Pinecrest, have seen the play four times—including the Dec. 10 opening. They cried. So did she.

A la Jane Eyre, Schaffel says, "I am wont to weep, anyway." (full text)

Fresh Face
Beth Stevens, Broadway.com
January 26, 2001

"It’s funny. You’d think I’d be exhausted. Actually, it’s like going on a fabulous roller coaster ride every night. Even through all of the trials and tribulation, I and Jane and the audience have gained something that’s so heartening. It makes you feel so believed and uplifted that I feel like I’ve shared something very, very special with the audience. I’m very proud and exhilarated by that." (full text)

To Eyre is Human
Kathy Henderson, TheatreMania.com
December 11, 2000

"...[Jane Eyre]'s the most beautiful woman ever. People say to me, 'You’re too pretty to play her,' but I disagree. Jane Eyre brings out the best possible me—the most loving portion of myself....I’m so grateful that I get to spend every day with Jane Eyre, because she has led me down a different path that I might not have stumbled upon on my own. She’s made me a better human being, and I mean that sincerely....I am the luckiest girl in the world." (full text)

An Eyre of Elegance: Marla Schaffel's Journey with a Bronte Heroine
Robert Viagas, Show Music
December 9, 2000

"I guess the only thing I can say is that I love this project. This show, this woman, these characters, Rochester—the kind of love that they have—it’s been the greatest gift of my life."

"I went to the [Bronte] house for the first time, and you could just feel the love that those sisters had for one another....I walked upstairs and the original manuscript was there....They had it opened to the page where Rochester proposes to her. And when I saw those words, ‘Yes, sir. I will marry you,’ I burst into tears." (full text)

Giving voice to Jane Eyre
Alexis Greene, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
November 26, 2000

"I remember wearing my hair up for that audition, and trying to be as small as I possibly could. Jane Eyre is supposed to be very short. Bronte herself was not even 5 feet. And she is supposed to be plain. I wore flats and a dress and no makeup whatsoever. I sang my normal songs, which is one really high soprano number and one big belt number, and then John asked for a monologue....It was some compilation of Portia’s lines from The Merchant of Venice, and I went up on my lines in the middle of it. And John totally fed me the lines, to help get me on track. I was stunned. And I was mortified." (full text)

TUTS takes a 'Sound' approach to Maria
Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle
July 3, 2003

"I've enjoyed the opportunity to be in shows that are cast not so much with singers as with actors who sing well. I studied acting at Juilliard and though I've wound up cast in a lot of musicals, I think in terms of a play with songs, where music is necessary to express the intensity of emotions. I'm approaching The Sound of Music in the same way." (full text)

Actress finds the kid inside Maria: 'Sound of Music' star emphasizes youth
Martin F. Kohn, Detroit Free Press
September 29, 2003

The show begins at a convent where Maria is a postulant nun. It's an emotionally secure environment for a young woman, free from the risks that come with loving another person, Schaffel says. There, "she can devote her life to God. There's a certain safety in that decision. But the Mother Abbess knows that it's the wrong thing for her," and dispatches Maria to work as a governess for the children of the widower Capt. Von Trapp.

"Opening herself up to loving another person and how that changes her is very fortifying for an audience because they can relate to it." [Maria's] struggle, Schaffel says, is "to realize that to love other human beings is an equally fulfilling journey on behalf of God. That takes strength." (full text)

A Favorite Thing
Michael Grossberg, The Columbus Dispatch
October 6, 2003

"I like to be creative and part of the process of creating a role, whether it's a new role or a classic role in a classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical," she said. "Even in my head, the role is so associated with Julie Andrews. I could hear her inflections in the song and dialogue. Of course, it is different because I'm not her."

Schaffel plays Maria as a younger "whirling dervish"—"more of what they sing about." "Because she's younger, the journey she makes in becoming a wife and mother and partner to the captain becomes clearer." (full text)


Lucky in the Rain | I Love You...Don't Touch Me! | Jane Eyre | Titanic | Enter the Guardsman | West Side Story | My Fair Lady | The Sound of Music


"The cast was excellent all around, but I have to mention Marla Schaffel and Patrick Wilson. When they sang and fell in love, it looked real."

Don Gillis (Theatre Mirror Reviews)  read the whole review

"The strong-voiced Ms. Schaffel gets the best of the obscure ditties..."

Michael Kuchwara (SouthCoast Today /The Standard-Times)  read the whole review


"Marla Schaffel plays the twentysomething unmarried woman to the hilt..."

(Videos Alltx)  read the whole review

"And the topper to this film as far as I'm concerned is the star's voice....I was absolutely BLOWN away by her voice and by the beautiful songs she sang. If for this reason only, watch! A real treat!"

user comment (IMDb)  read the whole review

"...in Schaffel and Whitfield, Davis has found a couple of breakout talents who engage us from the beginning and hold our attention even through some of the slowest and most tired spots in the story. In particular, Schaffel has a wonderfully offhand charm about her that just lights up the screen."

Scott Foundas (The Daily Trojan)  read the whole review

"...earthy, unconventionally appealing newcomer Marla Schaffel....has a striking, transparently expressive face and truly outstanding singing voice."

Michael Medved (570 KVI talk radio—Seattle)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel [is] mesmerizing from start to finish..."

Lincoln Kupchak (Spanner's Movie Review Database)  read the whole review

"Schaffel's assured performance and impressive singing voice..."

(Film Journal Reviews)  read the whole review

"It is obviously very lightweight fare, but worth it...for the lovely Miss Schaffel..."

James Bowman (The American Spectator)  read the whole review

"Schaffel's winning performance..."

Joe Baltake (The Online Movie Club)  read the whole review

"The movie is filled with great actors..., and there are also some great musical numbers, actually performed by Ms. Schaffel herself, and quite well I might add."

Rob Church (Rob's Movie Reviews)  read the whole review


"Marla Schaffel (Jane Eyre) and Anthony Crivello (Edward Rochester) were spectacular leads..."

Mitchell Marcus (Mitchell Marcus' Homepage)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel has the most beautiful (female) voice on earth!!!"

Lindsey Wiegers (Stacy's Musical Village)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel's wonderfully pure mezzo-soprano voice is in perfect counterpoint to her phenomenal acting."

Roger Kershaw and Jim Lingerfelt (Stage Door)  read the whole review

"Newcomer Marla Schaffel as the plain but smart Jane and Broadway vet Anthony Crivello as the tempestuous Rochester are perfectly cast and have great chemistry together."

Joseph Molnar (Talkin' Broadway)  read the whole review

"The performances are solid, Marla Schaffel's Jane especially..."

Christopher Winsor (Eye)  read the whole review

"The Toronto cast is excellent, with Marla Schaffel as Jane Eyre and Anthony Crivello as Rochester contributing very strong performances....Marla Schaffel does an admirable job of making the audience empathize with Jane."

Richard Crofts (The Obiter Online—York University)  read the whole review

"What gives Jane Eyre its sparks is the interaction between the two romantic leads—played with passion by Marla Schaffel and Anthony Crivello. While resolute and resilient, Schaffel possesses the quiet charm and intelligence that make Jane's transformation from timid young girl to confident woman convincing. She also has a strong, sure voice..."

Michael Kuchwara (SouthCoast Today /The Standard-Times)  read the whole review  alternate link

"Marla Schaffel seems just right for Jane—small and with an air of sincerity, earnestness, and strength in her manner and voice."

Karen Kenyon (The History Net)  read the whole review

"Marla is particularly in tune with Jane's journey and is constantly giving us suggestions."

Paul Gordon (B. P.'s Broadway Home Page)  read the whole review

"[Jane is] attractively played by Marla Schaffel with enough of the character's necessary quiet pluck and radiant goodness."

George Weinberg-Harter (Backstage: Los Angeles)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel is dead-on as the plain yet passionate Jane."

Bonnie Nicholls (San Diego Insider)  read the whole review

"Playing Jane is Marla Schaffel who has starred on Broadway in Titanic and Les Mis and she is magnificent."

Rodney Anderson (Broadway in Blue Cafe)  read the whole review

"The lead, Marla Schaffel, brings a beautiful voice and a commanding stage presence to Jane Eyre. She carries the musical...with a strength that only a first-class performer is able to achieve."

Jack Holland (CurtainUp)  read the whole review

"...Marla Schaffel is fantastic as Jane."

Sean Patrick Flahaven (BroadwayOnline.com)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel was chosen to play Eyre for her open emotional quality and vocal talent."

(Playbill)  read the whole review

"Schaffel has long proved ideal for the heroine..."

(Broadway.com)  read the whole review

"But if we're going to talk about resplendent voices, it's time to mention Marla Schaffel as Jane...What [she] does with 'Sweet Liberty' and 'Painting Her Portrait'...must be heard to be believed, savored, and cherished."

Peter Filichia (BroadwayOnline.com)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel is a dulcet-voiced Jane with steel determination, and carries an extremely demanding role with aplomb...The majority of the score consists of solos and duets for Jane and Rochester, and the duo carries the load well."

Sean Patrick Flahaven (BroadwayOnline.com)  read the whole review

"Marla is an extraordinary actress with an extraordinary voice, who has excited people in the theatre community for some time now, waiting for her to declare herself in an important role. Marla was always Jane Eyre. This was a role she was born to play. Marla is on the stage 31 out of 36 scenes. John Caird says Jane Eyre is the longest role for an actress in musical theater. Marla is more than up to the challenge."

Annette Niemtzow, as quoted by Robert Viagas (BroadwayOnline.com)  read the whole review

"I saw all the qualities of Jane in Marla. Spiritual and emotional intensity and intelligence. The actress playing Jane has to be able to think and convey to an audience that she is thinking. Marla has the clarity and analytical powers essential for playing a Bronte heroine."

John Caird, as quoted by Alexis Greene (The Plain Dealer)  read the whole review

"What anchors Jane Eyre is its leading lady, Marla Schaffel, who gives such a spunky, tenacious performance that you want to root for Jane's success. The actress is pleasingly solemn without being sanctimonious. Schaffel also has a lovely voice..."

Michael Kuchwara (AP)  read the whole review

"Topping the show's considerable assets are the two leads. Marla Schaffel is a splendid, still-waters-run-deep Jane who has the voice of a true Broadway musical star."

Elyse Sommer (CurtainUp)  read the whole review

"The dark-haired Ms. Schaffel...handles a huge role with remarkable aplomb. She has a strong, warm voice that is a central component of her winning performance, which is always cognizant of the kindness and humility that supports a heroic carriage."

Bruce Weber (The New York Times)  read the whole review

"Radiating intelligence, simultaneously plain and beautiful, Schaffel is by now utterly at one with a role that keeps her onstage almost throughout; both vocally and histrionically, Schaffel seems indispensable."

Ken Mendelbaum (Broadway.com)  read the whole review

"Schaffel has a strong, burnished voice and an admirable no-nonsense accessibility."

Linda Winer (Newsday)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel...is a winning, vibrant, utterly appealing heroine."

Martin Denton (NYTheatre.com)  read the whole review

"With Jane Eyre, Marla Schaffel joins that small group of great stars of the American musical theatre—Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, and Bernadette Peters—who, lady-like to the core, can effortlessly carry a major musical on their delicate shoulders and enchant an audience with a smile."

Thomas Burke (Talkin' Broadway)  read the whole review

"As Jane, Marla Schaffel is wonderful with a crystal-clear voice and a direct manner that suits the role perfectly."

Roma Torre (On Stage 12/16/00)

"This is a musical for grownups: spare, somber and rich, with an absorbing story, a lyrical score and an exhilarating performance by its star, Marla Schaffel...But all this would fall flat if the character of Jane herself was not inhabited with such stirring conviction by Ms. Schaffel. Her hair looped back severely over her earlobes, her posture erect, she brings a coiled emotional energy to the role. She has a diva-sized voice, warm and expressive, but she never sullies her performance with diva flourishes. Even when Jane falls head over heels for Rochester (James Barbour), Ms. Schaffel projects that crucial air of restraint. She carries the show in song and in spirit."

Amy Gamerman (The Wall Street Journal)  read the whole review


"...she was the one who reduced me to a puddle in the finale—heartbreaking!"  read the whole review


"Schaffel, who is fortunate enough to have the show's prettiest songs, gives a charming, relatively understated performance."

(Backstage.com)  read the whole review

"Marla Schaffel...brings the same strong voice and stage presence our L.A. correspondent noted in his review of Jane Eyre. She is also appropriately beautiful."

Elyse Sommer (CurtainUp)  read the whole review

"Schaffel...is a stylish performer and good singer..."

Ken Mandelbaum (Broadway.com)  read the whole review


"The talents of Michael Hunsaker (Tony) and Marla Schaffel (Maria) shine in every musical number with beautiful character portrayals of the doomed couple in a prejudice[d] society....Marla Schaffel...was the one I watched the most in this production. She has a wonderful voice, and she showed me a more 'mature' Maria than I had expected. She has the charisma, poise, and talent to portray, and she certainly kept my attention—especially [in] the final scene."

Don Gillis (Little Rhody Theatre)  read the whole review


"The Dallas Summer Musicals' My Fair Lady shows what a superbly talented cast can do with a classic show when it works with a fine director who takes the script's demands seriously. No wild rethinkings here—merely the best-acted musical to grace the Music Hall stage in recent memory...

"Marla Schaffel and Norman Large made a strong pair in My Fair Lady on Tuesday night. Marla Schaffel, a Tony Award frontrunner last year for Jane Eyre, has re-imagined Eliza Doolittle, making George Bernard Shaw's flower girl more intelligent, more determined, more volatile and more enthusiastic than ever before."

Lawson Taitte (The Dallas Morning News)  read the whole review


...the tour that begins with this run at Miller (through Friday only) offers an entirely standard yet capable rendition. The show is bolstered by the outstanding vocal work of Broadway veterans Marla Schaffel and Burke Moses, aptly cast as Maria and Capt. Von Trapp...

Schaffel, who won accolades for her fine work as Jane Eyre, makes a spirited and persuasive Maria. With her superb and characterful singing, she lends greater dramatic range than this role often is given. She injects an effusive, mercurial quality, a wild streak that helps explain why Maria is not cut out for convent life; her later scenes show Maria's maturation into a poised, resourceful wife and mother of a family in flight.

Everett Evans (Houston Chronicle)  read the whole review

It's an agreeable—if oddly rushed—version, meeting most of the time-honored standards for sugary smoothness, and even surpassing expectations in a couple of instances, most notably for the lovely work of the Broadway actress Marla Schaffel, whose sprightly Maria is both engagingly played and exquisitely sung...

Vocally, in fact, this Sound of Music is uncommonly accomplished.

Peter Marks (The Washington Post)  read the whole review

Schaffel, who recently performed in Charlotte Repertory Theatre's production of Let Me Sing, sings like an angel. Her clear voice coordinates beautifully with the children's.

Lynn Trenning (The Charlotte Observer)  read the whole review

A problem like Maria? Solved, in the winning new national tour of The Sound of Music, with a fresh approach. Avoiding a saccharine imitation of Julie Andrews, Marla Schaffel comes as close to the spiritual heart of Maria as her first name is to the character’s. Schaffel—winner of a handful of awards for her turn as Broadway’s Jane Eyre—is an up-and-coming actress whose best roles may be just ahead. As nun-turned-governess-turned-wife in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about the von Trapp family, she brims with emotional sincerity and childlike joy. She’s funny, too.

Michael Grossberg (The Columbus Dispatch)  read the whole review

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