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A chorus of five narrators surrounds Mike Tepeli as Pip in a scene from Great Expectations.

Great Expectations

Photo credit: Chris Ocken




Season 26

Nov 11, 2013–Dec 22, 2013

3829 N. Broadway

A cast of six quick-change their way through nearly 40 characters as the classic novel is reinvented as a fast-paced theatrical feat. An orphan is plucked from poverty and thrust into the upper class, his benefactor’s identity and motives hidden by lawyers and other minions. As Pip tries to find love and a living in his radically changed circumstances, he untangles a fascinating web of secret identities and hidden pasts.

Jason Gerace, the critically acclaimed director of Redtwist Theatre’s Opus, makes his Strawdog debut.

Jeff Awards

Director - Play, Jason Gerace

“★★★½ If you’re tired of the mutterings of old Ebenezer and yet still crave some of that Dickensian moral pudding, then consider the unexpected sleeper of a new show at the Strawdog Theatre. Therein, six fine actors tell the multicharacter tale … Gale Childs Daly’s exceptional new adaptation is uncommonly tight and suspenseful. With their multiple plots, Dickens novels often are tough to adapt. This one keeps the storytelling, and the hero, front and center. Truly, it’s a riveting cutting and shaping that is never dull for a moment. Much of that is due to Jason Gerace’s direction; the staging hardly is pretentious, but the stakes are thrillingly high throughout.”

— Chicago Tribune

“★★★★★ … The venerable storefront ensemble’s new adaptation of Dickens’s Great Expectations, performed by six actors, is an unexpected pleasure … Daly’s lithe adaptation smartly trims Dickens’s expansive plot and cast without feeling like it sacrifices too much. It’s a great pleasure watching strong young Chicago talents … embody numerous characters, transmuting in front of you … Strawdog’s compelling production greatly exceeds expectations.”

— Time Out Chicago

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… What makes the crucial difference in Strawdog Theatre’s magnificent production of Great Expectations” - easily among the finest shows of the year - is that its supremely gifted ensemble of six actors not only captures all the superficial qualities of Dickens’ marvelous characters (and they play about 40 of them), but they furrow deep into their hearts and souls. The many individual quirks are unquestionably amusing, revealing and richly theatrical, but there is something far greater going on here. Along with Gale Childs Daly’s flawless adaptation and Jason W. Gerace’s diamond-cut direction, it is this emotional undertow that makes this production soar. The show is a stunner on every level.”

— Chicago Sun-Times


Amanda Drinkall

as Narrator (Estella)

John Ferrick.

John Ferrick*

as Narrator (Joe)

Kyle Gibson*

as Narrator (Magwitch)

Megan Kohl

as Narrator (Havisham)

John Taflan

John Taflan

as Narrator (Herbert)

Mike Tepeli

as Pip

Creative Team

Charles Dickens

Gale Childs Daly

Jason Gerace

Joanna Iwanicka
Set Design

John Kelly*
Light Design

Brittany Dee Bodley*
Costume Design

Emily Guthrie
Props Design

Hilary Holbrook

Sam Hubbard*
Fight Choreographer

Kathy Logelin

Michelle Maier
Stage Manager

Mike Mroch
Production Manager

* Strawdog Theatre ensemble member