Charles Dickens Lives in TO BEGIN WITH at the Historic Wesley Center

Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, takes center stage when Hennepin Theatre Trust presents the anticipated return of TO BEGIN WITH at the Historic Wesley Center (101 E. Grant St., Minneapolis) Tuesday, March 28 to Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Described as "the Dickens play you were never supposed to see," it was inspired by a little-known work of Charles Dickens that he didn't want published (later given the title The Life of Our Lord). Longtime Minnesotan Jeffrey Hatcher wrote and directs the one-man play. TO BEGIN WITH is produced by The Daniel Group (Triple Espresso, That Wonder Boy).

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the New Century Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis), by calling (612) 455-9501 or by clicking to HennepinTheatreTrust.org. For information and reservations for groups of 10 or more, call (612) 455-9501.

Performance dates are Tuesday, March 28 through Sunday, April 15, 2017 at the Historic Wesley Center, 101 E. Grant St., Minneapolis. Performance times are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 7:30 p.m; Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special weekday matinee performances on Thursday, April 6 at 1 p.m. and Thursday, April 13 at 3 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $33.00.

In this witty and insightful creation, the award-winning Hatcher imagines the struggle Dickens has in creating an adaptation of the Biblical Gospels, to be performed for his children on Christmas Eve, 1849. The play opens with the taunting of Dickens by his 12-year-old neighbor, Algernon Charles Swinburne, who later would become one of England's most renowned writers. This unpleasant encounter spurs Dickens to write a tale quite unlike his usual fiction. As he wrestles with the text and how to best present it to a brood that ranges from 2 to 10 years of age, he is distracted by his anxieties for them, and by his reflections on the society in which they will live. The result is a play that explores the conflicts, emotions and self-doubts of the great writer with humor and insight.

Executive Producer Dennis Babcock has dreamed of creating a play from The Life of Our Lord for more than 20 years. "It has been thrilling to watch this project come to life, with Jeffrey Hatcher drawing a fascinating story from this little book. And who better to portray Dickens than his great-great-grandson? We are so fortunate to have this combination of writer-director and actor breathing life into this remarkable story."

Gerald Charles Dickens is an actor, director and producer based in London. In 1993 he created his first one-man show, a theatrical performance of A Christmas Carol inspired by Charles' own energetic readings of the 1860s. A fascination with the life and works of his subject led him to write and direct further one-man shows including Mr. Dickens is Coming!, Nicholas Nickleby and Sketches by Boz. He regularly performs in major theatres and arts centers and at arts and literary festivals in the UK.

Playwright and director Jeffrey Hatcher has delighted audiences on Broadway and around the world with his words, including Never Gonna Dance, Three Viewings, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Good 'N' Plenty, Korczak's Children, Compleat Female Stage Beauty, the stage adaptation ofTuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom), and the screenplays for The Duchess (starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes) and Mr. Holmes(starring Sir Ian McKellen).

TO BEGIN WITH had its world premiere in 2015 in Minneapolis at the Music Box Theatre.

HENNEPIN THEATRE TRUST is a nonprofit organization that creates positive change through the arts by bringing together people, businesses and organizations in WeDo™, the West Downtown MPLS Cultural District. We serve the community through our four theatres - the Orpheum, State, Pantages and New Century - and our unique arts, culture and education programs. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org and wedompls.org.

THE DANIEL GROUP, LLC is a provider of top-quality professional theater and other entertainment, whose mission is to provide excellent, wholesome productions that positively impact audiences. Current Productions include To Begin With, Triple Espresso-a highly caffeinated comedy, and Bob Stromberg's That Wonder Boy. For information on the shows or how you can be a part of this mission, contact Dennis Babcock at 612.874.1100 ordennis@danielgroupentertainment.com.

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