A Grandmother's Dickensian Afficionado
Margaret Hoorneman, at ninety-two years young, was so inspired by her many years of teaching the great Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, to her English literature classes, that she adapted the novel to a musical. She then contacted her grandson, Brian Van Der Wilt, in Los Angeles, to continue adapting her script. Brian enlisted the talents of Steve Lozier to help him with the book, Richard Winzeler to write the score, and Steve Lane to write the lyrics. Thus began the journey of bringing the sprawling novel to the stage.
A CD was produced as the songs began to spring to life. Many talented friends such as Debbie Reynolds, Patti Cohenour, Hugh Panaro, David Barnham, Calvin Remsberg, Stephen Breithaupt and Mary VanArsdel lent their magical voices to the project.
Readings were performed for small audiences in Los Angeles with Cloris Leachman as Miss Havisham, Hugh Panaro as Pip, and Anastasia Barzee as Estella. Faith Prince also played as Miss Havisham in a later reading to which Calvin Remsberg generously contributed his talents as dramaturg.
Great Expectations won the “Producers’ Award” at the New York Musical Festival. It continued to evolve and the result was a conceptual transformation into the realm of Pip’s psychological journey, which Dickens, so ahead of his time, had captured in the novel.
With the CD and script complete, Great Expectations was ready for its World Premiere at the Utah Shakespearean Festival.
We would like to acknowledge and thank the many fine actors that have already contributed to the development of GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Mary Van Arsdel