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In two-man shows 

Charles Dickens, who nicknamed Washington, D.C., the "City of Magnificent Intentions," was thoroughly unimpressed with the United States when he came here on his first tour in the 1840s. The feeling was not mutual. Americans loved the author of David Copperfield and Dombey and Son and mobbed his lectures to get in. Dickens' reading circuit through England, Scotland and the United States made him the 19th-century equivalent of a millionaire. While the novelist is not alive today to rake in the cash with a comeback tour, you can catch the next best thing this week, when a local duo puts on Charles Dickens, Tonight! Renowned Dickens scholar and lecturer Dr. Elliot Engel, playing himself, has teamed up with Duke Drama Program's Jeffery West, impersonating the author, for a full-fledged evening of dramatic delight. A lively mix of West reading from Dickens' work and Engel's commentary about the author's life, the production runs Dec. 20-23 and 27-30, at 8 p.m., at Peace College's Leggett Theatre. Tickets are $15; call (800) 392-4434.

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