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'Nicholas Nickleby, a New Musical' Descends on New York with Cast of Dozens

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Apr 11, 2014 02:05 PM EDT
Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical 'Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical' at Theater for the New City (Photo : Peter Welch Photography)

Charles Dickens's third novel Nicholas Nickleby runs nearly a thousand pages. David Edgar's stage adaptation crammed the story into a brisk eight and a half hours. Reduced still further, to two and a half hours as Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical, Dickens's social satire is coming to New York's Theater for the New City for a brief run from April 17 - May 4.

The book is one of director and theater impresario Robert Sickinger's final works -- the "father of Chicago's Off Loop theater movement" died in 2013. Alaric Jans, who has scored 30 Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions and won six Joseph Jefferson Awards for his Windy City theater work, wrote the music and lyrics. Lissa Moira will direct a cast of dozens (including six children) featuring Broadway veteran Luba Mason (Chicago, Jekyll & Hyde, Sunset Boulevard) and cabaret notable Karen Kohler.

This isn't the only Nicholas Nickleby with music. There's a recent musical theater adaptation by Tim Brewster, and the epic David Edgar marathon included music by Stephen Oliver. Even the 2002 film version produced a popular score by Rachel Portman.

Think about it: Dickens's original readers had to consume the novel in monthly installments. How better to pass the long, anxious days awaiting the next chapters than to sing?

Nicholas Nickleby, A New Musical opens at Theater for the New City April 17.

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TagsNicholas Nickleby, Robert Sickinger, Alaric Jans, Charles Dickens, Theater for the New City, Off-Broadway