Cape May’s 30th Annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza Planned For Dec. 4-6

CAPE MAY- Charles Dickens’ description of a Christmas village comes to life in Victorian Cape May during Cape May’s 30th Annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Dickens – social satirist, critic, author and creator of characters like David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and Ebenezer Scrooge – is perhaps the most revered writer of the Victorian era. Celebrate his life and legacy Sunday, Dec. 4 through Tuesday, Dec. 6

Cape May during the holidays, with its Victorian homes and inns festively decorated for Christmas, is the perfect setting for a celebration of Dickens. The extravaganza includes lectures and discussions led by a Dickens scholar, live performances and a gala Dickensian feast, with guests encouraged to dress in Victorian garb or as their favorite Dickens character.

On Sunday, Dec. 4 at 8:30 p.m., the event begins in storytelling fashion with “Christmas Presents from the Past.” Hear classic American stories by Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry and Mark Twain as told by Gayle Stahlhuth of the East Lynne Theater Company, at the First Presbyterian Church, Decatur and Hughes streets.

On Monday, Dec. 5, at 9:45 a.m., Dr. Jay Friedlin, president emeritus of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship, presents a program entitled, “Dickens’ David Copperfield.” Friedlin will lead a discussion of this classic work and share his love for and knowledge of Dickens and his times.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, the Holiday Meeting of the Cape May Literary Society will convene, featuring a living history presentation by Gayle Stahlhuth of East Lynne Theater Company. Stahlhuth appears as a character from Cape May’s past and she will read and discuss excerpts from beloved holiday literature.

On Monday afternoon at 1:45 p.m., join teacher and playwright John K. Alvarez for the presentation, “Dickens’ Life, Times & Inspiration.” Alvarez will discuss the world of Dickens and explore what made him tick.

At 4 p.m. Monday, Alvarez returns with a presentation of his one-man adaptation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” entitled, “Sincerely Ebenezer.” Join Alvarez for a new interpretation of this classic holiday tale.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 9:45 a.m., Dickens and music lovers alike are invited to join a professional musician for a look back at holiday music traditions during a program entitled, “A Morning of Holiday Music.” The presentation will include vintage images and recorded music.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, learn about the dramatic economic changes that occurred during Victorian times. “The Impact of Industrialization on the Victorian Era” is a richly illustrated lecture that examines how the switch from an agricultural to an industrial economy changed so many aspects of society during the 1800s.

On Tuesday afternoon at 1:45 p.m., explore beliefs about what lies beyond in a program entitled, “Victorian Spiritualism.” Discover how the Victorian Era was a golden age for monsters, ghosts, spirits, séances and belief in the paranormal. This program examines the many aspects of Victorian spiritualism and explores why the Victorians were so willing to believe in the other side.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, join fellow Dickens enthusiasts at the 30th Annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza finale: The Gala Dickensian Feast at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Aleathea’s Restaurant hosts this delicious, four-course meal. Come dressed as your favorite Dickens character or in Victorian garb for what promises to be an exciting evening celebrating one of the Victorian era’s most beloved literary figures.

The 30th Annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Individual tickets for lectures are available for purchase at $10. Tickets to the East Lynne performance on Sunday is $25; the Dickensian Feast is $50. Admission to the complete Dickens Christmas Extravaganza is $150 per person and includes all lectures and performances, plus the Gala Dickensian Feast Tuesday evening. For more information or to order tickets call 1-609-884-5404 or 1-800-275-4278.

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