Theater: A Dickens Epic Hits the Road

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Royal Shakespeare Company

When the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby shifted from London to Broadway in September 1981, theatergoers gasped at the record-setting $100 ticket price and bottom-numbing 8 1/2-hr. length. Co-Producer Bernard Jacobs of the Shubert Organization described seeing both halves in one day as "participating with the actors in a survival experience." Nonetheless, Nickleby's 14-week run became a sellout, playing to almost 55,000 people and leaving countless others feeling they had missed a triumph never to be repeated. ,

That gloomy prediction has proved premature. The R.S.C. returned Nickleby to its repertory last Christmas, albeit with an...

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