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As Actor

As Playwright

As Public Reader

Dickens Onstage

Shorter Works

The Novels



November 7, 2002 - February 15, 2003
The Vincent Astor Gallery
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
40 Lincoln Center Plaza

Dickens, as Captain Bobadill in a production of Every Man In His Humour by Ben Jonson. Dickens played this role on several occasions.

There is a story -- perhaps apocryphal -- that, as Charles Dickens was leaving the theatre one night following his performance as Captain Bobadill in Every Man in His Humour, an old supernumerary remarked: "Ah, what an actor you would have made, Mr. Dickens, if it just hadn't been for them books."

It was only a bad cold that prevented the young and out-of-work Charles Dickens from attending a scheduled audition at Covent Garden Theatre. Had he appeared, the course of English literature might have been drastically altered

Despite Dickens's unprecedented success as a novelist, his love of the theatre never waned. Throughout his life, he seized every opportunity to be near the stage. As playwright, actor, stage manager, director, librettist, it hardly mattered so long as, somehow, he had his hand in.

This exhibition, BEST OF TIMES; THE THEATRE OF CHARLES DICKENS, explores the great novelist's passion for and participation in live theatre from his boyhood through the last months of his life.