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Spectacular New Production Of Lionel Bart's Oliver!

By Lawrence Davis

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Justin S. Pereira as Oliver in Oliver!

I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening night performance of the spectacular new production of Lionel Bart's three-time Tony Award-winning musical, Oliver! 

Ken Clement (Mr. Bumble) and Justin S. Pereira (Oliver) in Oliver!

As always, it was worth the drive from Los Angeles, even in rush hour traffic, to be able to attend this wonderful performance at Orange Counties famed Segerstrom Hall. I am always impressed with this beautiful modern Concert Hall. To me it's the most comfortable, classy well designed Concert Hall in all of Southern California.

You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two from Oliver!

I was moved by this classic story and loved to sing along with the memorable songs. The sets were amazing as were the costumes. All of the characters performances were great with Nancy played by Renata Renee Wilson was the most outstanding. Not to take anything away from Justin S. Pereira who played Oliver who was also excellent in his personal performance as well as his great interactions with the Artful Dodger played skillfully by Andrew Blau. Shane R. Tanner who played the villain Bill Sikes did such a good job he got booed at the final curtain. And as always a loveable character Fagin was played right on target by Mark McCracken.

Mark McCracken as Fagin in Oliver!

Bart's adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist tells the story of an orphaned boy (Oliver) who escapes to London from a bleak workhouse and is taken in by a gang of apprentice pickpockets working for master thief Fagin as they learn their trade. When Oliver is falsely accused of exposing the gang by the frightening Bill Sikes, Oliver begins to realize he has more friends than he thought. Dickens' memorable characters (Oliver, Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sikes, the Artful Dodger and Bumble) spring to life once again in this celebrated musical, and Oliver!'s magical spell has everyone "Asking for More!" The show's unforgettable songs include "Food, Glorious Food," "Consider Yourself," "Where Is Love?," "You've Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two," "I'd Do Anything," "Oom Pah Pah," "As Long As He Needs Me" and many more!.

Justin Pereira (Oliver) and Andrew Blau (Artful Dodger) in Oliver!

With its vivid characters and engaging plot, Oliver Twist has been brought to life through dramatic interpretations time and time again since the book's first publication in 1838. Of the numerous staged versions, the best loved and most successful is Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! The show debuted in London in 1960, the first time the story had ever been told in a musical format. Oliver! became an instant hit, and after transferring to Broadway in 1963, it became Broadway's longest-running British musical up to that time. The show's unforgettable songs include "Food, Glorious Food," "Consider Yourself," "Where is Love?," "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two," "I'd Do Anything," "Oom Pah Pah" and "As Long As He Needs Me." Oliver! was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won three: Best Composer and Lyricist, Best Conductor and Musical Director, and Best Scenic Designer.

Shane R. Tanner (Bill Sikes) and Blanca (Bullseye) in Oliver!

The film version of the musical was released in 1968 and, like its staged counterpart, was a critical and box office success. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Score.

Consider Yourself from Oliver!

The current North American tour is based on Cameron Mackintosh's successful 1994 London revival of Lionel Bart's Oliver! Produced by Networks Presentations, LLC., it features direction by Graham Gill, choreography by Geoffrey Garratt, scenic design by Adrian Vaux, lighting design by Jenny Kagan, orchestrations by William David Brohn, costume design by Anthony Ward, sound design by Peter Grubb and original music staging by Matthew Bourne. Oliver! is produced in association with Southbrook Group, Ltd.

Renata Renee Wilson (Nancy) in Oliver!

Orange County Performing Arts Center
Segerstrom Hall
Weekdays: December 21-23 & December 27-31 at 8 p.m.
Saturdays: December 25 & January 1 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays: December 26 and January 2 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The show is dark on December 24.

Theater: Orange County Performing Arts Center - Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Tickets: $21.25-$58.25

In Person - The Center Box Office
Online - www.ocpac.org
Phone - CenterTix (714) 556-2787
TTY number - (714) 556-2746
Groups - Group Sales office at (714) 755-0236

Oliver! is part of The Center's Bank of America Broadway Series.

All photos © Joan Marcus

The Center applauds Bank of America, Mercedes-Benz and Cox Communications for their support of the Broadway Series.

Artists and programs are subject to change. The Orange County Performing Arts Center is a private, non-profit organization. "Orange County Performing Arts Center" is a California registered trademark.

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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