Dickens' Christmas Extravaganza

Sunday-Tuesday, Dec. 7-9, 2014

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

Cape May is the perfect place to celebrate Dickens and the holidays, as it transforms to a Victorian Christmas Village during this season. Immerse yourself in the world of Dickens through lectures and performances. The festivities conclude on Tuesday evening with a proper Victorian Feast. 

The Extravaganza package costs $160 per person and 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, December 8
  • 8:30PM: “A Victorian Christmas: Queen Victoria, Dickens and the Victorian Novel” - Dr. Elliot Engel- Dr. Engel reveals the early years of perhaps the least likely individual ever to come to the throne of England. Her childhood rivals those of any Dickensian heroine in pathos. Professor Engel then looks at the novels written during her reign, emphasizing, of course, those by Dickens. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)

Monday, December 9
  • 9:15AM: Mark Twain: America's Charles Dickens" – Dr. Elliot Engel - There is no question that Mark Twain is regarded today as America's greatest author. Dr. Engel examines Twain's early life to discover the source of his most prominent and most Dickensian themes in his later fiction. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)
  • 10:15AM: . "Frost at Christmas: The Cold Genius of Robert Frost" – Dr. Elliot Engel - Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Dr. Engel brings to life this most beloved and yet most peculiar of twentieth-century American poets. His emphasis is also placed on a detailed reading and explication of Frost's most famous poems. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)
  • 11:30AM: Lunch on your own
  • 2PM: Wine Tasting: Continue your wine education at the Cape May Winery. Their wine production includes a variety of whites and reds which range from dry to sweet wine. Their main focus is on the viniferous grapes including some wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Chardonnay. (Cape May Winery, 711 Town Bank Rd.)
  • 3PM: And now for something completely different- an afternoon of Barber Shop Quartet; (Cape May Winery, 711 Town Bank Rd.)

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

Tuesday, December 10

  • 10AM: “Our Mutual Friend”: Jay Friedlin, president emeritus of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship, leads a discussion of “Our Mutual Friend” (written in the years 1864–65), the last novel completed by Charles Dickens and one of his most sophisticated works, combining psychological insight with social analysis. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)
  • 11AM: Three Actors: Mr Crummles, Mr Macready and Mr Dickens: Herb Moskovitz, a member of the Dickens Fellowship, presents a program about Theater in Mr. Dickens's novels, in the life of his good friend, the actor William Macready, and in Dickens's own life. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.)
  • 12PM: Lunch on your own
  • 1PM: Holiday Inns Tour: Get into the Christmas spirit during this self-guided tour oft three of Cape May s festively decorated Bed and Breakfast Inns. You’ll be treated to a holiday presentation at each inn.
  • 3PM: Victorian Vices: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in the Victorian Era- Elan Zingman-Leith- What do you think of Victorians? Prudish, stiff, formal? They were masters of the double standard and not quite all that straight-laced. Larn more ion this fascinating powerpoint presentation. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Sts.
  • 7PM: Dickens Feast: Join your fellow Dickensians at the Washington Inn for a four course feast and closing festivities.


Bedford Inn, 805 Stockton Ave., 609-884-4158

Fairthorne Cottage, 115 Ocean St., 609-884-8791/800-438-8742

Henry Sawyer Inn, 722 Columbia Ave., 609-884-5667

Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., 609-884-5555

Leith Hall, 22 Ocean St., 609-884-1934

The Queen Victoria, 102 Ocean St., 609-884-8702

Victorian Lace Inn, 901 Stockton Ave., 609-884-1772

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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.


Jay Friedlin is a physican and a vast reader of Charles Dickens and Dickensian lore. He is the president emeritus of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship and is an annual presenter at the Dickens Extravaganza.


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.


Elan Zingman-Leith has a background in history, historic preservation and inn keeping. He has served as Deputy Director of Preservation of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, chairman of both the Cape May and West Cape May Historic Preservation Commissions, and has worked for the National Register of Historic Places. A Bed and Breakfast innkeeper in Cape May for 20 years, Elan is also a Realtor in town.