Stars Have 'Great Expectations' For Reading

Broadway has some great expectations -- or at least it might have some in the near future.

The new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' famous book "Great Expectations," about the young orphan Pip and his remarkable journeys, is closer than ever to making its way to Broadway.

"'Great Expectations' has a gorgeous score and a timeless story... what more could you want?" says Calvin Remsberg, the production's new director.

The concept comes from an 87-year-old grandmother named Margaret Hoorneman, an Iowa schoolteacher who taught the Dickens' novel in junior high school for years, according to The New York Times, which first reported the production in an article by Bernard Weinraub in the Arts and Leisure section in May 2001.

Hoorneman happens to be the grandmother of Brian VanDerWilt, longtime television writer and producer. VanDerWilt co-wrote the book for the musical version with Steve Lozier. The production also features music by Richard Winzeler and lyrics by Steve Lane.

The musical had a successful stage reading in Los Angeles in 2001, which starred High Panaro, Anastasia Barzee and Oscar winner Cloris Leachman as the eccentric Miss Havisham.

"Great Expectations" will have a second reading this month, the product of a significant rewrite. The creative team had also sought to take the musical to the next level by adding Remsberg to the production.

"The piece has been streamlined and tightened," Remsberg said.

The reading will feature Faith Prince, Eric Kunze, Janene Lovullo, Stephen Breithaupt, Melissa Lyons, and a cast of Broadway regulars.

The reading will be held this Sunday, Oct. 30, by invitation only, at the new Boston Court Theater in Pasadena, Calif.

-- Anna Bengel