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Spirited Oliver comes to playhouse stageTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Don Swigart
Pickpockets joyously welcome Oliver to the gang.
Photo by George Lauby
The Artful Dodger (George Gipe) lays a number on Oliver (Drew Phillips).
Photo by George Lauby
Tom Clements as Mr. Bumble.

OLIVER! is the story of a young orphan in the 1800s who journeys from a London workhouse to join a group of pickpockets, all the while searching for love and acceptance.

Much like today, it shows the troubles of life and the poor people who try to get along anyway.

The show opens this weekend downtown at the Neville Center for Performing Arts, featuring a rousing cast of more than 50 characters who fill the theater with an uplifting wall of sounds, songs and dances.

The story by Charles Dickens is dark, one of violence, abandonment and abuse, but the characters are spirited and the plot intriguing, as young Oliver perseveres in the face of challenges.

The show features many famous songs including “Food Glorious Food,” “Consider Yourself (part of the family),” “As Long as He Needs Me,” and “Where is Love,” an endearing tune sung by young Oliver, who is well-played by 11-year-old Drew Phillips.

OLIVER! has entertained audiences for half a century all around the world. It was first presented in London, where it played for 2,618 performances. It played 774 performances on Broadway. It has been revived several times on Broadway and was revived in London in 1994 at the Palladium. It was a major motion picture in 1969.

The North Platte Community Playhouse performed Oliver! 18 years ago in 1995. The show is as fitting today as ever, in our times of abuse, violence, abandonment and the spirit to triumph.

The show is directed by Scott Carlson and John Hales. An orchestra plays under the direction of Lori Swanson, with choreography by Amariah Hodgen. Bryan Solko is the stage manager. Charlotte Eggert made the backdrops. Tom Clements gives a welcome performance as Mr. Bumble.

The show will make a six-night run over two weekends -- Feb. 8-10 and 15-17. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children and students. They can be purchased at the NPCP Box Office Monday-Friday from noon-5 p.m. by calling (308) 532-8559 or at the door before any performance.

Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

OLIVER! is produced through a special arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc.

“The cast has shown extreme dedication and are anxious to share their amazing talent with central Nebraska,” Carlson said.

The cast:

Oliver Twist - Drew Phillips. Fagin - Ben Hill. Artful Dodger - George Gipe.

Nancy - Sophie Markley. Bill Sykes - Josh Gesinski. Mr. Bumble - Tom Clements.

Widow Corney - Lodelia Baxter. Mr. Sowerberry - Ben Bartholomew. Mrs. Sowerberry - Shawna Beeler.

Mr. Brownlow - John Browers. Bet - Emma Wilkinson. Charlotte - Ceara Roundy.

Noah Claypole - Seth Vapenik. Mrs. Bedwin - Debra Sylvia. Dr. Grimwig - Morris Turner.

Old Sally - Kayla Turner. Charley Bates - Tanner Hand. Old Lady - Forence Gonzales-Todd.

Rose Seller - Shawna Beeler. Milk Maid - Tiffany Wood. Strawberry Seller - Amariah Hodgen.

Knife Grinder - Richard Sylvia.

Workhouse Children - Ciera Carlson, Jaylee Shaner, Cecelia Fuller, Beth Goentzel, Mia Hilber-Hansmeier, Krystal Rauterkus, Chloe Wiegand, Emberleigh Lehman, Rachel Young, Kaylee Carlson, McKinley Ponce, Brenna McAdam, Molly Young, Ella Harmon, Oban Sandoval, Sam Mackley.

Fagin's Gang - Ciera Carlson, Cecelia Fuller, Beth Goentzel, Emberleigh Lehman, Oban Sandoval, Matt Walker, Luke McKeon, Seth Mavigliano, Halie Fleecs, Katelyn Walker, Bridget McKeon, Sydney McGahan, Alyssa Waits, Sidney Brinker, Cassie Brown, Ally Hasenauer, Will Huffman.

Adult Chorus - Allison Klimek, Seth Vapenik, Tiffany Wood, Debra Sylvia, Amariah Hodgen, Deb Wurl.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/7/2013
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