More than 50 years later, Oliver is still asking for more.
Here’s a rundown on the new Good Company Players production of “Oliver!,” which opens Thursday, May 21, at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater:
The plot: As anyone who has seen the 1960 musical (long a favorite of community theaters and high schools) knows, the orphan in Charles Dickens’ novel has the audacity to ask for seconds of gruel at the workhouse he frequents. That request has some serious consequences for the lad, triggering a journey that immerses him in the mean streets of London.
The production: Dan Pessano, managing director of Good Company, directs a large cast that includes Marty Margolin as Oliver, Juan Danner as Fagin, Abigail Nolte as Nancy and Greg Ruud as Bill Sykes. Julie Lucido choreographs.
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If given the choice, would you rather hang out with the Fagin character from the book or the musical: The singing Fagin, to be sure. As is the case with many musical adaptations, his more evil side got deemphasized when the story was set to music.
Fun fact about the film version: It won the 1968 Oscar for best movie. Can you imagine that happening today?
The songs: Lionel Bart, who penned the book, music and lyrics, offered a number of classic songs, including “Consider Yourself,” “Where Is Love,” “Pick a Pocket or Two” and “As Long As He Needs Me.” Then there’s “Food, Glorious Food,” which is what gets Oliver into trouble in the first place. Even gruel comes with a price.