Theatre UCF, Orlando Shakespeare Theater Team Up for Epic 'Nicholas Nickleby'

Theatre UCF, Orlando Shakespeare Theater Team Up for Epic ‘Nicholas Nickleby’

Photo by Landon St. Gordon

“The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I and II,” adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, is being presented by Theatre UCF and the Orlando Shakespeare Theater through March 9 at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Orlando’s Loch Haven Park.

The epic, two-part production, featuring a cast of 27 actors playing more than 150 characters, was written by David Edgar and is co-directed by Jim Helsinger and Christopher Niess.

The story tells of  Nicholas Nickleby, whose father died and left his family penniless. Nicholas embarks on a series of adventurous encounters with humanity’s worst and best—greedy fools, corrupt lechers, cheery innocents, and selfless benefactors.

“’The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’ is a living example of how great the power of theater can be,” Helsinger said. “This show is one of the most incredible theatrical events I have ever seen, and I’m excited to bring that magic — that majesty— to Florida.”

The play features John P. Keller in the title role. Starring in this season’s “Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker,” Keller first appeared at Orlando Shakes in the theater’s 2012 repertory productions of “Othello” (Roderigo) and “Sense and Sensibility” (Edward). Alison McLemore makes her Orlando Shakes’ debut as Kate Nickleby.

For dates, times and tickets ($17-$40): call 407-447-1700, click on http://orlandoshakes.org,  or go to 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando.

Ambitious theatergoers are invited to see both “Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I & II” on the same day. Select marathon dates include February 1, 15, and  22 and March 1, 8, and  9 (Part I at 2 p.m. and Part II at 7:30 p.m.). Dinner packages are available for either a Victorian dinner at White Wolf Cafe or a Panera Bread boxed meal at the theater between shows.

Audience members are invited to celebrate with the cast, crew, designers, and Orlando Shakes staff at the opening night party, which begins after the show (about 10:30 p.m.) Jan. 24 (Part I) and Jan. 31 (Part II).

“The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Parts I & II” is sponsored by UCF Office of the President, College of Arts & Humanities, and Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s special 25th anniversary donors.