(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- East Lynne Theater Company's new Artistic Director Craig Fols will open his inaugural mainstage season with his own original adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" titled "A Tale of Two Cities, Cobbled Together by the Brothers Lovejoy". Fols' stage version of this world-renowned classic will make its world premiere on June 14 and will run Wednesdays to Saturdays through July 15.
In Fols' story, two characters—the Brothers Lovejoy, Avery and Bruce—argue about Dickens' famous story and discuss its value in modern times. The brothers play out their own version of the classic tale, questioning as they go: "Why does it matter?" "What does it mean to audiences today?" "Has it turned into a cliché?" "Is it still significant?"
Another difference between Fols' version and the original is that Dickens' story was not particularly known for its humor, while Fols' interpretation is most decidedly funny.
"It's a 'Dickens' of a comedy," laughed Fols, who also directs the show. "Actually, it is a comedy, but it has its poignant moments. It's really very apt for our time–the rich and the poor, the violence and non- violence. It's amazing how relevant it is right now."
Fols has cast Ezra Barnes (shown at the top of this article) as Avery Lovejoy. An actor with a wide range of stage and television experience, Barnes has performed in everything from Off-Broadway productions to the Philadelphia Theatre Festival to "As the World Turns" and "Law & Order: SVU". The role of Bruce Lovejoy will be portrayed by British actor Jon Peterson. Past roles of Peterson’s include the "Emcee" in "Cabaret" on Broadway, his off-Broadway portrayal of American musical legend George M Cohan in "George M Cohan Tonight!", for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, as well as an array of independent movies in both the UK and in the U.S.
As East Lynne's brand-new artistic director, Fols considers this production his introduction to the community. Originally slated to open in Washington, D.C., Fols is thrilled to have his work debut at East Lynne, where its theme—the sanctity of people coming together--overarches the rest of the season he has planned for East Lynne with "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Love Letters" to follow.
"I think this show will strike a deep chord with a lot of people. It's just a classic story and it's a way to make an old story new," said Fols. "This is more about a deep love of theater, rather than Dickens. It won't be boring."
"A Tale of Two Cities, Cobbled Together by the Brothers Lovejoy" opens 8:30pm on June 14. It will run Wednesdays to Saturdays through July 15. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors. Students and military are $20. Season tickets are $100 and only available through June 10. Additional summer and winter shows will be announced soon.
ELTC is in residence at Cape May Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May. More information and ticket reservations can be found at EastLynneTheater.org.
Founded in 1980, East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) was the first theater in the country with the unique mission of presenting and preserving America's theatrical heritage. The New York Times listed ELTC as one of the 75 top summer theaters in North America. In 2018, the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a joint legislative resolution recognizing ELTC as "one of the state's most important cultural treasures."