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Dickenss David Copperfield Comes Alive at KSC

KEENE, NH 10/9/02 The award-winning Weston Playhouse Theatre Company will bring a new adaptation of Charles Dickenss David Copperfield to Keene State Colleges Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m., with a special school performance on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 9:30 a.m. This critically acclaimed stage version by Giles Havergal brings to life many of Dickenss most unforgettable characters, the jovial Mr. Micawber, the loyal Peggotty, the innocent Dora, and the unctuous Uriah Heep, while capturing the wonder and terror of the world as seen through the eyes of the young orphan, David. David Copperfield is a shining example of Dickenss skill as a storyteller, and an entertainment event for the entire family.

The production is being co-presented by the Redfern Arts Center and Keenes Colonial Theater. It marks the second year the two organizations have co- produced a performance by Weston Playhouse Theatre, last year presenting the critically acclaimed production Of Mice and Men.

Westons Keene visit, part of a three-state tour throughout New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, is made possible through a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by Ben and Jerrys and Perkins/Vincent.

Though the performance is at Keene States Redfern Arts Center, tickets may be purchased at both the Redfern and the Colonial Theater. The Redfern box office number is 603-358-2168; the web site is The Colonial the box office number is 603-352-2033; the website is Tickets are $24 and $20 for the general public, $22 and $18 for seniors and KSC faculty and staff, $12 and $7 for youth 17 and younger, and $5 for KSC students with ID. Please note that the October 31, school performance, is sold out.

David Copperfield is a theatrical tour de force in the style of the Royal Shakespeare Companys legendary production of Dickenss Nicholas Nickleby. Six actors play multiple roles, transforming the stage from a remote seaside village to a busy London street through the sheer power of storytelling and the collective imagination.

David Copperfield, Charles Dickenss favorite work, was made into a memorable 1935 MGM motion picture with Freddie Bartholomew and W.C. Fields. Westons production comes at a time when Dickens seems to have supplanted Shakespeare as a hot commodity: Simon Callows one-man show, The Mystery of Charles Dickens, recently played to packed houses on Broadway, and a serialization of David Copperfield starring Daniel Radcliffe (the young star of Harry Potter), Bob Hoskins, and Maggie Smith was a highlight of last years Masterpiece Theatre season. A Christmas Carol remains the most produced title in the American theatre, and the musical Oliver!, based on Dickenss Oliver Twist, is a favorite on both school and professional stages.

Playwright Havergal, director of the Citizens Theatre of Glasgow and well known for his adaptation and direction of Travels With My Aunt, was commissioned by the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago to create this new adaptation. Weston Playhouse director Steve Stettler, whose 2001 production of Floyd Collins won the prestigious Moss Hart Award for the Best Production in New England, comments: Were delighted and proud to be the first theatre to produce this work since its world premiere last year in Chicago.

Stettler has assembled a professional cast of six actors who will portray, sometimes with the drop of a hat, nearly 20 different characters (and a dog). Philip Lehl, whose numerous Weston credits range from Bobby in Company to Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, plays the title role. Lehl, a Julliard-trained actor whose credits include the lead in the Broadway production of Blood Brothers, is joined by Ilene Bergelson, David Cleveland, Brad Heberlee, Noel Velez and Brandy Zarle. Stettler points out that the cast is in tune with Dickens and his incredible gift for capturing the often- eccentric details of human behavior. His characters are naturals for the fleshing out that happens with a stage performance.

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