Oliver!

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Nothing works on the stage like a well-crafted tale, and OLIVER! is just such a show.
Based on the Dickens novel, it will engage your audience with its pathos and drama, while delighting everyone with its outstanding musical numbers.
Food, Glorious Food, I’d Do Anything, Where is Love?, Consider Yourself, As Long As He Needs Me, Who Will Buy and Reviewing the Situation are musical theatre classics.
Dickens’ characters are brought to life — perhaps larger than life — with all their facets glowing in this production.

*Music samples courtesy of Jay Records and Hollis Music.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • The curtain opens on the sinister interior of the workhouse with a bare dining table, center stage, where the boys will sit. These pale-faced wretches can be seen peering through the bars of a door at the back. Looming above two curving stairways glows the legend “God Is Love” in rough letters. The door is opened and the boys file to the table and sing Food, Glorious Food. At the end of the song, the Widow Corney, who runs the workhouse and Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle, enter and a thin gruel is served. Wolfing the meagre fare, the boys hopelessly stack their bowls, but the hapless Oliver approaches Bumble with the entreaty, “Please sir, I want some more.” He is instantly subdued. Oliver is locked behind the barred door as the rest of the boys exit upstairs.
    Oliver is brought forward, bag and baggage, and is led off by Bumble who sings the haunting Boy for Sale. Walking through the streets of London, they arrive at Mr. Sowerberry’s, the undertaker. Oliver is “sold” to the undertaker. Alone and frightened and surrounded by coffins on stage, he sings the plaintive Where Is Love?
    Oliver runs away the very next morning, and is picked up hungry and tired in the streets by the Artful Dodger who cheers him up with Consider YourselfThe Dodger leads him through crowded streets to Fagin’s kitchen. The boys come in and Fagin himself appears and, with a mock solemn welcome to Oliver, sings the fantastic You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two. Nancy, Bill Sikes’ girl and Bet arrive. The two of them, accompanied by the boys and Fagin, celebrate their way of life in It’s a Fine Life. The action moves to the next morning when Fagin sends the boys off on a pocket-picking expedition, Oliver among them. The stage now displays a city scene and we witness the capture of Oliver, not for picking pockets, but for simply looking guilty.
    In the second act the curtain rises on the “Three Cripples”-an underworld tavern-where Nancy is being encouraged to sing a music hall number, Oom-Pah-Pah. Fagin’s boys pour down the stairs telling of Oliver’s apprehension by the police, at the same time revealing that his innocence has been established and that he is presently ensconced in the home of a rich old gentleman. Fearful lest he give away their set-up, Fagin and Sikes dispatch Nancy to get Oliver back.
    Meanwhile, at the home of his new-found benefactor, the erstwhile ragged Oliver has become a well-tailored, well-cared for little lad. Looking out of his bedroom window he observes some passing street vendors crying their wares; he sings Who Will Buy? A plea that his good luck and new situation in life will be permanent. However, the moment he sets foot outside his benefactor’s house, Oliver is seized and dragged off by Nancy to Fagin’s.
    In the next scene Fagin occupies the empty stage and considers going straight in Reviewing the Situation. Subsequently, Bumble and Mrs. Corney, now uncomfortably married, discover that Oliver is the scion of a rich family. Their scheme to get him back fails and Nancy, regretting her part in the capture of Oliver, plans to return him to his benefactor at night on London Bridge. Fearful of Sikes, she reprises As Long as He Needs Me. Sikes stalks her and kills her. He grabs Oliver and, after a chase, is himself shot dead. Oliver is restored to his benefactor and Fagin, now without boys, home and money, reprises Reviewing the Situation.

  • Music, Lyrics and Book by Lionel Bart
    Licensed by Arrangement with Oliver Productions, Ltd.
    and Oliver Promotions, Ltd.

  • Full Orchestration and Combo Instrumentation

    Full Orchestration

    2 Violin I
    1 Violin II
    1 Viola
    1 Cello
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute and Piccolo
    1 Reed II: Oboe and English Horn
    1 Reed III: Clarinet and Bass Clarinet
    1 Reed IV: Bassoon

    1 Horns I & II
    1 Trumpets I & II
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    1 Piano

    2 Percussion I & II

    Percussion I:
    Trap Set (Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbals)

    Percussion II:
    Timpani (2 drums), Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes, Triangle, Wood Block, Temple Blocks (2), Tambourine, Cow Bell; brushes and sticks

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material

    A Full Score (Partitur) in 2 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration.

    Combo Instrumentation

    1 Violin (1 player)
    1 Cello (1 player)
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute & Piccolo
    1 Reed II: Oboe & English Horn
    1 Reed III: Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
    1 Reed IV: Bassoon

    1 Horn
    1 Trombone

    1 Piano

    2 Percussion I & II

    Percussion I:
    Trap Set (Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbals)

    Percussion II:
    Timpani (2 drums), Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes, Triangle, Wood Block, Temple Blocks (2), Tambourine, Cow Bell; brushes and sticks

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material

    A Full Score (Partitur) in 2 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the complete combo instrumentation.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book
    6       Prompt Books for Principal Characters
    21     Dialogue Parts
    36     Chorus-Vocal Parts

    Optional Addtional Materials

    1       Stage Manager’s Guide

  • Principals

    (5 female; 6 male)

    Oliver Twist — a workhouse boy about 13 years of age
    Mr. Bumble, The Beadle — a large, pompous man of 55
    Widow Corney — a sharp-tongued, domineering widow of 50; the Workhouse Mistress
    Mr. Sowerberry — the Undertaker
    Mrs. Sowerberry — his overseer
    The Artful Dodger — Fagin’s brightest pupil; an undersized 18-year-old
    Fagin — an elderly receiver; runs training academy for young pickpockets
    Nancy — 23 years old; a graduate of Fagin’s academy, and Bill’s doxy
    Bet — a 13-year-old lass in Fagin’s establishment; idolizes Nancy
    Bill Sykes — a villain in his prime
    Mrs. Bedwin — the Brownlows’ Housekeeper

    Supporting

    Noah Claypoole — the Undertaker’s pimply apprentice
    Charlotte — the Sowerberrys’ sluttish young daughter
    Charles Bates and other Boys in Fagin’s establishment
    Old Sally — a pauper
    Old Lady
    Mr. Brownlow — an old gentleman of wealth and breeding
    Dr. Grimwig — a Doctor
    Boy
    First Woman
    Second Woman
    Night Watchman
    First Bow Street Runner
    Second Bow Street Runner
    Man, Second Man, Third Man and Fourth Man
    Charman

    Chorus

    Workhouse Boys
    Workhouse Assistants
    Bow Street Runners
    Street Vendors (Criers)
    Crowd of Onlookers and Passersby

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 44 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

  • OLIVER! was first presented in London, where it played for 2,618 performances at the New Theatre. It played for 774 performances on Broadway at the Imperial and Shubert Theatres starring Georgia Brown and Clive Revill as Nancy and Fagin. It has been revived on Broadway several times, as in 1984 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, and in London in 1994 at the Palladium starring Jonathan Pryce as Fagin.

    AWARDS (1963)

    3 Tony Awards for Composer/Lyricist, Musical Director, and Scenic Designer