Thanks to Gary Colledge for sending this along!
Great-great grandson of Charles Dickens
to star in world premiere of To Begin With
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens, will take center stage in February for the world premiere of To Begin With. Written and directed by Jeffrey Hatcher, the play is inspired by a long-unpublished work of Charles Dickens, The Life of Our Lord.
To Begin With runs February 19–March 8 at the Music Box Theatre on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.
In this witty and insightful new creation, the award-winning Hatcher imagines the struggle Dickens has in creating an adaptation of the Biblical Gospels, to be performed for his children on Christmas Eve, 1849. The play opens with the taunting of Dickens by his 12-year-old neighbor, Algernon Charles Swinburne, who later would become one of England’s most renowned writers. This unpleasant encounter spurs Dickens to write a tale quite unlike his usual fiction. As he wrestles with the text and how to best present it to a brood that ranges from 2 to 10 years of age, he is distracted by his anxieties for them, and by his reflections on the society in which they will live. The result is a play that explores the conflicts, emotions and self-doubts of the great writer with humor and insight.
Executive Producer Dennis Babcock has dreamed of creating a play from The Life of Our Lord for more than 20 years. “It has been thrilling to watch this project come to life, with Jeffrey Hatcher drawing a fascinating story from this little book. And who better to portray Dickens than his great-great grandson? We are so fortunate to have this combination of writer-director and actor breathing life into this remarkable story.”
Gerald Charles Dickens has worked as an actor, director and producer for many years. In 1993 he created his first one-man show, a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol inspired by Charles’ own energetic readings of the 1860s. A fascination with the life and works of his subject led him to write and direct further one-man shows including Mr. Dickens is Coming!, Nicholas Nickleby and Sketches by Boz. He regularly performs in major theatres and arts centers and at arts and literary festivals in the UK.
Playwright and director Jeffrey Hatcher has delighted audiences on Broadway and around the world with his words, including Never Gonna Dance, Three Viewings, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Good ‘N’ Plenty, Korczak’s Children, Compleat Female Stage Beauty, the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom), and the screenplay for The Duchess. He currently is writing the screen adaptation of Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes.
To Begin With is the second production in the Music Box Theatre’s season of three plays, which includes Triple Espresso (November 21, 2014–February 15, 2015) and Bob Stromberg’s That Wonder Boy, the captivating exploration of life and art as seen through the eyes of a youngster who “overcame a happy childhood to become a comedic artist.” That Wonder Boy plays March 17–April 5, 2015.
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$31 - $36
Discounts for students, seniors and military personnel; half-price for children 17 and younger
www.musicboxmpls.com or 612-874-1100
Group discounts available for groups of 12 or more: 612-874-9000
Schedules vary by week; complete schedule available at www.musicboxmpls.com
The Music Box Theatre is located at 1407 Nicollet Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55403.