SUBMITTED BY BETH MCMILLEN –
The excitement continues in the theatrical community as the 50-member cast for Oliver gathered at OLT for their first rehearsal. Director Rudi Timmerman, Music Director Judy Kropp, and Assistant Director Ladonna Van Wolf spent many hours in deliberation before naming the cast. They came up with a great cast.
This great British musical, Oliver, has entertained the world for over 50 years and has become one of the most loved shows.
The musical, script and music written by Lionel Bart, is based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, written in 1838. The play opens as orphans in the workhouse, run by the heartless Mr. Bumble, line up for their daily portion of gruel. Oliver asks for more and Mr. Bumble is shocked by the request and decides the boy is trouble and needs to go. He sells him to the Undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry, who warns him against bad behavior. Oliver wishes for a happier life and decides to run off to London; he leaves in the middle of the night.
In London he meets the Artful Dodger who introduces him to Fagan an elderly crook who teaches his gang the art of picking pockets. Although Fagan watches over the gang, they are all under the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, a sinister robber. Nancy, Bill Sykes’ girlfriend, loves him despite his violent nature and being beaten by him. Having been in Fagan’s gang as a child, she is sympathetic to the gang. She takes a liking to Oliver. The boys are sent out to pick pockets and Oliver goes with them.
As he fails at trying to take Mr. Brownlow’s wallet, Oliver gets into trouble. He tries to escape, but is caught and arrested. Mr. Brownlow, a well to do gentlemen, suspects Oliver is innocent and takes him in. Oliver is sent out to do errands and while out is kidnapped and taken back to Fagan’s gang. Mr. Brownlow tries to locate him.
Meanwhile, Mr. Brumble and his new wife, the Widow Corney, find a locket that belonged to Oliver’s mother. They realize that he may have wealthy connections, and set out to find Oliver. They see Mr. Brownlow’s advertisement and go to his house with the locket. Mr. Brownlow throws the couple out, but recognizes the picture in the locket as his daughter and realizes that Oliver is his grandson. He swears he will find Oliver and care for him. Nancy, wanting Oliver to have a better life, rescues Oliver from Fagan’s gang and he and his grandfather are reunited.
Oliver opens at the OLT in April and plays two weekends, April 15-17 and April 22-24.