The Cricket on the Hearth
Charles Dickens's The Cricket on the Hearth, in a world premiere City Lit adaptation by Edward Kuffert, will play eleven performances as part of City Lit's 33rd season. The production will begin performances on Friday, December 21, 2012 and will run through Sunday, January 6, 2013. Press opening is Sunday, December 23, at 3:00 pm. The production is directed by Kuffert and features a selection of Victorian Christmas carols.
The Cricket on the Hearth is the third of the five almost annual Christmas books Dickens published from 1843 through 1848; it is subtitled "A Fairy Tale of Home" for its warm celebration of the magic of domesticity. Upon publication in 1845, it outsold 1843's entry, A Christmas Carol, and its numerous stage adaptations were for many years more popular onstage than those of that book as well. Perhaps the highest compliment paid to The Cricket on the Hearth, albeit an unintended one, came in 1922 when Vladimir Lenin publicly walked out of the Moscow Art Theatre's production, calling it too sentimental for his tastes.
"To have a cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing in all the world!' says Mrs. Peerybingle, whose household is watched over by a cricket who lives on their hearth, as a mysterious stranger rents lodging there and their lives become entwined in those of the poor toymaker Caleb Plummer, his blind daughter Bertha, the miser Tackeleton, and Tackleton's unwilling fiancée May Fielding. Throughout everything, the cricket is the household's guardian angel, and represents the spirit of the Victorian ideal of a happy home.
Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of the 19th Century, and in the 147 years since his death, not one of his books has ever been out of print. His works have been the subjects of hundreds of adaptations for stage and screen, including one of a novel he never completed, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The various stage adaptations of A Christmas Carol, if counted as one, constitute the most frequently produced play in America over the last 25 years. The musical Oliver!, based on Oliver Twist, premiered in 1960 and has been revived on Broadway or in the West End, or both, in every decade since then. During the Christmas season of The Cricket on the Hearth's publication year, seventeen stage adaptations of Cricket were produced in England. Dion Boucicault dramatized it for the New York stage in 1859, and his version was frequently produced in both America and England through the rest of the century. The book has also been the basis for early 20th-Century operas in German and Italian, silent films in France, Russia and America during the 1920s, as well as radio and television adaptations in succeeding decades.
The cast of The Cricket on the Hearth is Barbara Anderson, Nicholas Roy Caesar, Brian-Mark Conover, Callie Johnson, Nick Shea, and Lisa Stran. The production is designed by Terry McCabe and David Miller.
Preview performances for The Cricket on the Hearth are Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22, at 8:00 pm. Press opening is Sunday, December 23 at 3:00 pm. Thereafter, the schedule for the regular run is as follows: Wednesday, December 26, through Saturday, December 29, at 8:00 pm; Sunday, December 30, at 3:00 pm; Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5, at 8:00 pm; and Sunday, January 6, at 3:00 pm.
Ticket prices are $15 for previews and $20 after opening. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and groups of ten or more. Tickets may be purchased by 773-293-3682 or visiting www.citylit.org. Tickets for the October 19 free performance must be reserved in advance, either by calling 773-293-3682 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material.
City Lit Theater is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, one block west of Sheridan Road and a block and a half east of the Bryn Mawr Red Line L stop. The 84 Peterson bus, the 147 Lake Shore Express bus, and the 151 Sheridan bus all stop near City Lit.
Valet parking is available for theatre customers through the valet service at Francesca's Bryn Mawr restaurant across the street from City Lit. Discounted parking is available for theatre customers, with validation from the Edgewater Beach Café, in the Edgewater Beach Apartments' underground parking lot located one block east of the theatre. That Little Mexican Café, one block west of City Lit, offers free parking to City Lit patrons who make reservations to dine there before the show.
City Lit receives funding from the Alphawood Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs CityArts program, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Its outreach program is sponsored in part by A.R.T. League.
City Lit Theater (View)
1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
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