The University at Albany Department of Theatre is pleased to present the world premiere of Great Expectations, a new play based on the classic Charles Dickens’ novel which coincides with the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth. The show will run for ten performances in the Main Theatre at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus from February 23 to March 3, 2012.  

Written and directed by Chad Larabee, this new adaptation sets the iconic story in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1960s.  Hub Clay, a young orphan, meets an escaped prisoner who shatters his innocence, opening his eyes to the darkness of life.  Hub’s life is further changed by an eccentric plantation owner, Miss Piedmont, and her beautiful daughter Stella.  Local professional actors, Carol Charniga (a UAlbany alum) and Patrick White, play Miss Piedmont and escaped prisoner Thomas Sommerset.  UAlbany actors, Justin Mancuso and Kristyn Youngblood, play Hub and Stella.  The cast also includes Lesly Brezilien, Cecelia Gray, Evan Jones, Charlie Owens and Danielle Osadon.

Chad Larabee is an adjunct faculty member who directed last season’s Theatre Department production of Cabaret.  Other directing credits include the revival of Garson Kanin’s Dreyfus in Rehearsal off Broadway, POPart (New York Musical Theatre Festival), Good Good Trouble (New York Fringe Festival), the London premiere of Ain’t We Got Fun, Assassins at Endstation Theatre Company and Lori McKelvey’s new musical Camila. He is a proud graduate of The University of Iowa and Florida State University, where he received his MFA in Directing.

“I’ve always identified with Pip’s journey and feel that it parallels the pursuit of the American Dream,” Larabee says.  He adds, “It’s been a fun challenge to try and maintain the integrity of these iconic characters, but push them into experiencing the changing landscape of 1960s America.”

Larabee decided to set the second act in Washington DC, which places the characters at ground zero of the 1960s cultural revolution in America.  “As a writer, it is exciting to imagine the character of Hub, who has lived a sheltered life in the mountains, experiencing everything that was happening in DC in the 60s.”

The schedule includes performances on Thursday & Friday, February 23 & 24 at 8pm; Saturday, February 25 at 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, February 26 at 2pm; Wednesday thru Friday, February 29 – March 2 at 8pm and Saturday, March 3 at 2pm.  There will be a discussion with the playwright after the Sunday matinee on February 26.

Tickets for the general public are $12 for all performances.  Tickets for students, senior citizens and UAlbany faculty/staff are $8 from February 23 - 26 and $10 from February 29 - March 3. Tickets may be purchased through the Performing Arts Center Box Office.  For further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

There will also be a special morning matinee performance of the production for high school groups. This performance is scheduled for Wednesday, February 29 at 10am. Information and reservations for this matinee is available by calling the Performing Arts Center office at (518) 442-5738.