OLIVER -- We Want More

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

BOB: While I had many reservations of the Ivoryton Playhouse production of the musical Oliver, they were totally unfounded. I was greatly pleased at what an excellent production this is.


KAREN: Under the direction of R. Bruce Connelly and the choreography of Kelli Shook, Oliver springs fully to life with a huge cast including a number of children.


BOB: The musical -- which was a Broadway and movie hit in the’60s -- the movie won the Oscar -- is based on the Charles Dickens book about a young boy’s life. Orphaned at birth he is raised in a work house, sold to an undertaker, runs away and is befriended by a group of child pickpockets under the watchful eye of Fagin.


KAREN: Generally speaking, many of the major roles are well done and sung beautifully. You’ll get a kick out of Michael Cartwright as Mr. Bumble and you will also absolutely love Neil Mayer as Fagin. It is quite a change from his last role at Ivortyon, as Wilbur in Hairspray.


BOB: Nathan J Russo is masterful as the Artful Dodger and the other young men who play Fagin’s gang all acquit themselves well.


KAREN: Tyler Felson plays Oliver and he has the right innocent expression and a clear boy soprano voice. Unfortunately -- there was one casting miscue -- Kimberly Morgan did not have either the acting technique nor the presence to be an effective Nancy. Her rendition of “As Long as He Needs Me” sounded too much like a finalist on American idol.


BOB: We really liked the way the stage was set up -- going all the way back to the rear wall of the theater. Cully Long created a set that was able to be adapted to the multiple scenes and locations in the piece.


KAREN: A six-piece orchestra under the direction of John Sebastian DiNicola, provided the musical support.


BOB: This is fine production that underlines the period and the pathos. Children will enjoy the show but may find some parts sad.


KAREN: You will certainly be entertained by this production of Oliver at Ivoryton Playhouse through September 2.


This review aired on WNHU-88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net


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