[Ed. note: As many of our regular readers know, Dr. Gary Colledge is the author of God and Charles Dickens and consultant on the new play To Begin With. He has also been a good friend to this blog. We greatly appreciate his writing this guest post for us on the development and premiere of the play. --GRD]
Three years ago, my wife and I sat with producer Dennis Babcock in my home discussing the idea of turning Dickens’s The Life Of Our Lord into a one-man play. Dennis shared with us that he had been toying with the possibility of this project for almost 20 years, and through a series of rather extraordinary—maybe even providential?—events, learned that The Life of Our Lord had been at the center of my post-graduate studies. He contacted me for the first time initially by phone, visited me at my home shortly thereafter, and at that meeting asked if I might consider serving as a consultant for the production.
That is why, this past Friday evening, February 20, 2015, I sat with much delight and anticipation in the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis waiting for the curtain to rise on the premiere of To Begin With, Dennis’s theatrical production about the writing of Dickens’s The Life of Our Lord.
To Begin With -- the play that, as its star Gerald Dickens says, "presents a Dickens that people have not seen before" -- has its preview performance tonight and its premiere tomorrow night at the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis. Go here and here to read interviews with Gerald, playwright and director Jeffrey Hatcher, and producer Dennis Babcock.
We here at Dickensblog would like to wish them all a very successful opening night!
Tickets are now available for To Begin With, the new play about Dickens's writing of The Life of Our Lord, starring Gerald Dickens.It premieres February 19 at the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis. If any of you are lucky enough to go, please comment and tell us all about it!
Three very different musical versions of A Christmas Carol are in the news:
A new one-man opera version premiered Friday at Houston Grand Opera, co-written and directed by Dickensian actor/writer Simon Callow. The opera, and tenor Jay Hunter Morris, got a rave review in the Houston Chronicle. The show runs through Dec. 21.
Meanwhile, the Cedar Falls Community Theatre in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is premiering Storybook Christmas, a country music version of the Carol. It updates the story to the present and seems to have some fun and creative ideas (none other than Johnny Cash is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come!). It runs through Dec. 14.
The Greene Space in New York City will present its annual production of A Christmas Carol: A Radio Drama on December 8, with a cast of Broadway veterans including Mark Linn-Baker and Jefferson Mays. Information and tickets are available here!