Great Expectations Theatre Review - Exceeding Expectations

Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens, Great Expectations has been developed into a new musical.  It’s not one that you would expect would fit the musical drama requirements, but it surprised, astonished and delighted everyone in the audience.  

Great Expectations: Pip


Appropriately done under the title of PipPocket Productions, the story, as you may recall, is about a young boy, Pip ( Sterling Beaumon/Adam Simmons), and his journey of obsession, disillusionment and redemption as he quests for his soul mate, the illusive Estelle ( Shannon Warner/Kelsey Smith) who has been trained by the bitter Miss Havisham ( Sierra Rein/ Ellen Crawford)  to toy with the hearts of men.  Casting done by Michael Donovan and his associate Peter Matyas were astute in their role choices. Among the other characters brought to life here are Mrs. Joe, Joe (David Barrus) , and the convict Magwitch/Jaggers (Marc Cardiff) Other wonderful stars included Curt  Bonnen (Drimmle/ Compeyson/Vicar) Hap Lawrence (Pumblechook/Matthew Pocket/ Wemmick/Judge) Steve Mazurek (Startop), Brian Maslow (Herbert) Troy Hussmann (young Herbert) Zarah Mahler (Biddy) Britt Flatmo (Young Biddy) Steven Marvel (Drummle/Vicar).  The children, who had been in the care of Patricia Mullins, were especially talented.

The idea for a musical was the brain child of Margaret Hoorneman.  A former teacher with the Iowa Public School system and a fan of Dickens and especially Great Expectations she longed to do something more with the story..  She continued to study Dickens on her own after retirement and felt that Great Expectations had a far better reach than did Oliver.  The beauty of Ms. Hoorneman is that at 92, with the assistance of Brian Vanderwilt and Steven Lozier, she finally achieved her dream in the form of a 700 page book.  Original songs were written and composed by Steve Lane and Richard Winzeler and preformed by Richard Winzeler and Berkley Everett at the keyboard and Jamie Strowbridge on percussion.  

Great Expectations: Pip and Estella


All the talents combined, Director Jules Aaron, who teaches at the ‘ American Academy of Dramatic Art, definitely has a hit on his hands. The premier events were equally well received and so the play opened April.4, 2008 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood CA.  The audience raved and gave several standing ovations.

Great Expectations, The Musical.


The only thing, one patron complained, was the hard seats.  If that is all that is wrong with a play I would probably see it again and again.  

The singing is worthy of a Broadway performance and we in Los Angeles are blessed with hearing the music (Richard Winzeler) and lyrics  Steve Lane.  I wouldn’t mind at all if a CD was made of the songs and music.

Through April 27th   Friday and Sat at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 PM.  A special night performance on Sunday April 20th at 7:00 PM   Ticket prices is an inexpensive $20 for all performances. Considering the price of entertainment today, this is a worthwhile investment.

Property Design by Patty and “Gordon Briles was simplistic yet easily gave the feel of the Dickens era as did the costumes designed by Shon LeBlanc

For tickets call 323 960 4442 or www.plays411.com/greatexpectations or www.greatexpectationsmusical.com

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