Dickens' Christmas Extravaganza

Sunday-Tuesday, Dec. 4-6, 2016

Welcome friends, to Cape May's annual Dickens Christmas Extravaganza!

Join world-renowned lecturer on Charles Dickens, Dr. Elliot Engel, and immerse yourself in the storied world of Dickens with lectures and performances offered daily. Engel’s mini-lecture series on Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country and his articles have appeared in national newspapers and magazines including Newsweek. Also featured are lectures by members of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowships. Included in the Extravaganza is a Dickensian-style feast.

The Dickens Christmas Extravaganza package costs $175 and includes admission to all the above events. Individual admission to lectures is also available at $15 per lecture.

Inclusive packages are available at participating inns. Please contact the participating inns directly to register. If you choose not to stay in a participating inn, you may register at 609-884-5404.


Sunday, Dec. 4 
7:30PM: Scarlett Fever: Margaret Mitchell and “Gone With the Wind” - Elliot Engel
Dr. Engel examines the wild popularity of this classic American novel on the 80th anniversary of its publication in 1936, and reveals how the author's actual life experiences form the basis of the book's enduring appeal. (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

Monday, Dec. 5

9:30AM:  The Brilliance of Jane Austin - Elliot Engel

Professor Engel emphasizes that Jane Austen is the first great woman author in our language. He also singles out and explores the multiple perfections within her novels which have made her one of the most enduring and endearing British writers of all time.  (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)


10:30AM: Myth Emily Dickinson - Elliot Engel

As the title implies, Emily Dickinson has been ill-served by many biographers in having so many dubious stories associated with her peculiar life. Dr. Engel separates the facts from the fictions concerning her eccentricities and, more importantly, he dramatically reads aloud and carefully explicates some of her most beautiful poems.  (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

12PM: Lunch on your own


2PM: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol: Victorian Viewpoints:” Dr. Robert Heinly

Beyond being a beloved part of our Christmas literature and part of the lore of Christmas, “A Christmas Carol” illustrates the views and values of their lifestyle. (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets) Includes a wine tasting.

(Open only to full package participants)


Monday evening is a free evening for you. MAC offers evening tours. Tickets can be purchased at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.


Tuesday, Dec. 6

10AM: “Christmas Carols: A History of Holiday Music”-  Joe Rondinelli

"The history of music celebrating Christmas is almost as old as the holiday itself. Carols are of a particular form and we will discuss what makes a carol unique in the world of music. We will look at the visual art of Christmas and listen to a few of the most popular carols we love and enjoy.”   (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

11AM: How Victorian Life Was Controlled by Their Clothing - Ellie and Carl Dunn

We know that religion, government, family, etc., played a crucial role in the lives of the Victorians,  but this was nothing compared to the control that their clothing enjoyed! (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)


12PM: Lunch on your own

2PM:  Boz and the Bard - Herb Moskovitz

Charles Dickens, AKA Boz, was fascinated by Shakespeare. He read and reread the complete works, put on productions of the plays and was influenced by the Bard's characters, plots and words. 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and Herb Moskovitz of the Dickens Fellowship commemorates the event with a talk about how Shakespeare influenced Dickens in so many ways.  (Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)


7PM: Dickens Feast: Join your fellow Dickensians at Union Park Dining Room in the Hotel Macomber, 727 Beach Ave. Guests can choose from several entrée selections. Coffee, tea and iced tea included. Local wines available by the bottle. (Open only to full package participants)

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is certified as a provider of professional development by the New Jersey Department of Education. If you are a teacher, credit can be granted for your attendance at these events.

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About our presenters

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Eliot Engel now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years. Since 1980, Dr. Engel has been President of the Dickens Fellowship of North Carolina, the largest branch of this worldwide network of clubs. Professor Engel continues to give literary and historical programs throughout the world.


Ellie Dunn has belonged to the Philadelphia Chapter of the Worldwide Dickens Fellowship for 25 years.  Carl has been a member for 11 years now.  They reside in Pitman, NJ, and have been blessed to have been able to travel extensively around the world, but their FAVORITE place in all the world is Cape May, NJ!  Christmas is their favorite time of the year and they put up 15 Christmas trees on all 3 floors of their Victorian home! Ellie has always had an intense interest in fashion and all things "Victorian" and has been privileged to speak on Victorian clothing and Christmas traditions around Philadelphia and South Jersey.  Ellie and Carl own a marketing rep firm in their "real lives"!


Herb Moskovitz is an active member of numerous literary societies, including the Dickens Fellowship, the Wodehouse Society, Mycroft’s League (a Sherlockian Scion Society of BSI) and is a charter member of the Friends of Poe at the Philadelphia Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. He has a theatrical background, having acted and designed scenery and lighting for many Philadelphia area theater companies. He recently retired after 40 years of coordinating art and theatre programs for the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation.


Joseph Rondinelli is a former Director of Administration and Professional Development and Senior Administrator of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at NJMS. Joe is an avid Dickens fan and a long-time participant o the Dickens Christmas Extravaganza.



Bedford Inn

805 Stockton Ave., Cape May


Chalfonte Hotel

301 Howard St., Cape May


The Dormer House

800 Columbia Ave., Cape May


The Harrison

613 Columbia Ave., Cape May


Henry Sawyer Inn

722 Columbia Ave., Cape May



Leith Hall

22 Ocean St., Cape May


The Mainstay Inn

635 Columbia Ave., Cape May


Twin Gables B&B

731 Columbia Ave., Cape May



Queen Victoria B&B

102 Ocean St., Cape May