(November 2015) Neil Johnson talks about the task ahead now that the “Oliver!” casting is complete and the rehearsals have started!...
After what seemed like a somewhat tortuous audition and callback process, the cast list of “Oliver!” is now complete. The production team had the unenviable task of choosing principals from a very talented group of people, amongst both the youth and adult actors who auditioned.
I’d like to thank them all and apologise for the time it took to come to a final decision. I’m sure it wasn’t very pleasant for some but, with such talent on offer, we had to get it right.
It was also a real pleasure to see so many new people audition who don’t have Pirates or NWTC experience, and to welcome them to our clubs. I’m sure they will enjoy the experience and help make “Oliver!” a truly fantastic piece of theatre.
Now comes the even harder part: rehearsals!
We’ve decided to run youth rehearsals on Saturday afternoons (at the Altrmenti, after the NWTC Youth Group workshops), adult principals on Tuesday evenings (downstairs at the Culturando café) and adult chorus on Thursday evenings (at the Waldorf School.) Rehearsals are staggered amongst various members of the production team meaning that not everyone has to attend 3 times a week.
Mira Toth (Youth Choreographer) & Tara Donnell (Youth Director) are handling Saturdays, Philip Dutton (MD) and I are running Tuesdays and Allison Kingsbury (Adult Choreographer) and Philip are running Thursdays.
This will change towards the end of the year when we start putting musical numbers and dialogue together in the various scenes.
In the background, other members of the production team are getting to grips with costumes, props, set, lighting etc. which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is some task for such a big show.
Finally, I have a request. As you may know, the chief villain of the piece, one Bill Sikes, has a dog called “Bullseye.” I’m in two minds whether to use a real life dog or just have him “heard” off-stage (what is it they say about working with children and animals?)
If anyone owns a tough looking canine (frankly, a poodle or Yorkshire terrier won’t cut it) and is prepared to have him/her brought on stage by Bill during one scene only (on a lead), could they please get in touch with me? He or she needs to look fairly threatening but have a placid nature (that’s the dog, not the owner.)
The things we do for art!!!
Regular updates on the show’s progress to follow.
Neil (I must be mad for doing this!) Johnson