Background to the play
Oliver! was the first musical adaptation of a famous Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit. It premiered in the West End in 1960, enjoying a long run, and successful long runs on Broadway, tours and revivals, after being brought to the US by producer David Merrick in 1963. It was made into a musical film in 1968. Major London revivals played from 1977–80, 1994–98, 2008–11 and most recently on tour in the UK from 2011-13.
Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse in 1830s England. His mother, whose name no one knows, is found on the street and dies just after Oliver’s birth. Oliver spends the first nine years of his life in a badly run workhouse where he is bullied into asking for more food by the other young orphans. He narrowly escapes a beating and is eventually apprenticed to a local undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. Desperately unhappy, Oliver runs away at dawn and travels to London where he meets Jack Dawkins, a boy his own age. Jack (otherwise known as “The Artful Dodger”) offers him shelter in the London house of his benefactor, Fagin. However, Fagin is actually a career criminal who trains orphan boys to pick pockets for him. After a few days of training, Oliver is sent on a pickpocketing mission with disastrous results.
With music & lyrics by Lionel Bart, this abridged version of the Dickens novel “Oliver Twist” has won numerous plaudits & awards. The musical film of 1968 won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Notable musical numbers include “Food, Glorious Food”, “Consider Yourself” and “As Long as He Needs Me”
With a cast of over 40 children and 40 adults, set in Victorian London, Oliver! is rightly considered a classic of musical theatre and is a joyous evening out for all the family. This production is performed in English with a live orchestra.
Oliver! is a joint production between Pirates and NWTC and will take place at Centre Culturel Kinneksbond Mamer.