"A blight had fallen on the trees and shrubs; and the wind, at length beginning to break the unnatural stillness that had prevailed all day, sighed heavily from time to time, as though foretelling in grief the ravages of the coming storm."

- Charles Dickens in “Nicholas Nickleby”

Honoring the spirit of Charles Dickens in this bicentenary year of his birth, and keeping with the spirit of the season he captured in "A Christmas Carol," an exceptional group of artists, writers, musicians, actors and other notables are pooling their talents to stage a very special fundraiser to benefit Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts in a truly devastated part of New York City.

Called “A Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways” the gala event will be held Thurs. Dec. 6, 2012.

Organized by award-winning musician/actor Joe Hurley, the extraordinary evening will spotlight a lively mix of luminaries from the world of arts, letters, & music. Hosting with his dear friend, novelist Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles, who has flown thousands of miles for the event, to help out in the Dickensian spirit. Lucinda will strike a holiday tone with an inspiring talk of how Dickens came to write the classic "A Christmas Carol."

Read more Christmas stories here

Waiting in the wings to delight the audience will be National Book Award winner Colum McCann, actress Cara Seymour, memoirist Alphie McCourt, actor Mike McGlone, writer Mary Norris, journalist Bob Hardt, composer/playwright Jill Santoriello, musician Chris Flynn, writer/performer James Braly, singer/actress Dana McCoy and musician/actor Joe Hurley. Hurley, who has strong ties to The Rockaways, and is grateful and deeply moved by all the support so many have given.
All Benefit proceeds raised through “A Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways” will be directed to The Graybeards, a Rockaways non-profit 501c3 formed in the aftermath of 9/11 by firemen, policemen, and residents of Rockaway to help those in the community in their time of need. These men have all sustained their own personal losses due to Hurricane Sandy, yet they still find a way to train their focus on service to the community every single day.
JOE HURLEY Performing “ROCKAWAY”" Live performace of Hurley's' Rockaway'. Single out in December:


Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, has written 14 non-fiction books, she appeared as herself in the BBC docudrama Charles Dickens & the Invention of Christmas.

●  Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning novelist, Let the Great World Spin

Cara Seymour, starred in Gangs of NY, Hotel Rwanda, An Education, The Music Never Stopped.

Michael McGlone, best know as Edward Burns' brother in The Brothers McMullen and She's the One.

Joe Hurley, who, aside from singing with everyone from The Chieftains to Judy Collins, narrated the double Audie Award winning book of Keith Richard’s Memoir, Life along with Johnny Depp.

Mary Norris, editor of the New Yorker, is presently working on her forthcoming book, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.

James Braly, writer and performer of the monologue Life in a Marital Institution, optioned for film & television by Meredith Vieira Productions.

Dana McCoy's songs have topped charts worldwide, her CD, "Taking Shape" was a Billboard Top 10 Album of the Year.

Alphie McCourt is the youngest of the four McCourt brothers and the third—after Frank and Malachy—to pen a memoir about his life in Ireland and the U.S. His “Christmas Trilogy” is now available on iTunes.

Jill Santoriello's Broadway musical adaptation of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities was nominated for two Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Bob Hardt is the political director and executive producer at NY1 News as well as a Rockaways Resident. Here is his blog reporting on Hurricane Sandy from his home.

The Canby Singers has championed choral music, from medieval song to  commissions by contemporary composers since their founding in 1957.

IMPACT Repertory Theatre, founded in 1997, guided by Nile Rogers they've performed at the Oscars.

Chris Flynn, a veteran of both Joe Hurley's bands, Chris is musical director for The All Star Irish Rock Review

Mia Theoradatus has played for President Obama, Vanity Fair magazine,and the Irish Arts Center where she runs the harp program.

“A Dickens Christmas for The Rockaways” the gala event will be held Thurs. Dec. 6, 2012 starting at 7:00 PM at Theater 80 (at 80 St. Marks Place in New York's East Village).

A maximum of 180 tickets will be sold. Tickets for the very limited VIP stage seating are $200, house seats are $100.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Some pertinent links for more information:

Facebook Page

Facebook Event Page

Our charity recipient, The Graybeards.

Joe Hurley’s Twitter