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Stephens' A Dickens Victorian Christmas offers different experience each year

December 1, 2016

Sure, people come to “A Dickens Victorian Christmas” for the music, dance and frivolity, not to mention the old-fashioned figgy pudding and wassail.

But what keeps friends and families coming back each year to this Stephens College holiday favorite is the experience: No two shows are the same. 

That’s because the audience becomes a guest at this authentic re-creation of a 19th century English Christmas party hosted by none other than Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens in the Historic Senior Hall Parlors on the Stephens campus. While audience members take a seat in one of the parlors, cast members make the rounds, visiting their guests and singing carols.

Victorian Christmas Poster

Sometimes they stay on script and sometimes they don’t, making the party a one-of-a-kind experience.

This year, the event begins at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4-7. (Get ticket info.) The show features local favorite Ed Hanson as Mr. Dickens, the Stephens College Concert Choir and six students from The Children’s School at Stephens College.

“I think at the end of the year, people need something to look forward to, and Christmas is often that event,” said Assistant Professor of Music Trent Rash, who serves as the stage director for the show. “ ‘A Dickens Victorian Christmas’ is a sneak peek at what we all hope Christmas will be for each of us—a time to share the carols, food and stories of what the holiday is all about.”

Rant said the script is modified each year to keep the show fresh. 

“We’re also very excited to have Ed Hanson in the show this year,” he said. 

Hanson, who has acted and has sung in shows across the United States, is the artistic director of Talking Horse Productions in the North Village Arts District in downtown Columbia.

Hannah Elliott ’18, a Musical Theatre major from New Salisbury, Ind., who plays Mrs. Dickens, is looking forward to interacting with the audience.

“Mr. and Mrs. Dickens mingle with the crowd before and after the show, which is all improvisation,” she said. “I have to be ready for anything and still remember to be in the mindset of a Victorian woman.” 

Elliott said comedy ensues as the prim and proper Mrs. Dickens faces the arduous task of corralling her sociable husband as he continues to unintentionally throw off her perfectly planned party.

“It’s going to be fun,” she said. “I can’t wait for the show to begin.”


A Dickens Victorian Christmas
Performances are 7:30 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, Dec. 4-7, 2016, in the Historic Senior Hall Parlors, 100 Waugh St. Contact the Box Office at (573) 876-7199 or for more details. 

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