2013-03-14 / News

Little Theater’s production of Oliver! will coincide with spring tour in April

In the view of director Stan Coe, directing a play is “kind of like trying to re-create a masterpiece on canvas, except your medium is people instead of paints. You’re never quite sure how it is going to turn out. But as actors and actresses begin to assume their characters the picture stars to emerge in marvellous ways!”

The title character of Charles Dickens’ Oliver!, which focuses on the misadventures of an orphan boy named Oliver Twist, is played by Nathan Bowen, with his brother, Michael playing his counterpart, The Artful Dodger. A handful of other young actors support them as both workhouse orphans, and later as partners in a pick-pocketing racket.

“I think that is one of the techniques the kids liked learning best: picking pockets!” Coe said with a grin. “These kids are just a bunch of naturals on stage. It is such a joy to see them pick up on directives and make it happen with enthusiasm.”

When you add colorful characters to the painting like Fagin (Billy Creel), Mr. Bumble (Zach Gebbing), and Widow Corney (April Shelton) in antics mixed with hillarious lyrics, the fun starts. And the foibles continue with Rev. Kevin Madden and wife Alicia as the bungling undertakers, Mr.and Mrs. Sowerberry. But the levity is balanced by a darker mood lurking in the backround in the villain, Bill Sykes, a difficult role very well played in forboding tones, by Troy Nichols.

“For softness and streams of light enter sisters Katlyn Johns (Nancy) and Emily (Bet) with the amazing harmonizing voices of Shay Harris (music director), George Brooks, Joan Bowen, Cliff Hargrove, April Shelton with an outstanding adult chorus of villagers, and some of the scenes will have the audience singing and tapping their feet,” Coe said.

Add to all this the musical accompanyment of Sherry Bowers (who also accompanied for Coe on Fiddler On The Roof and My Fair Lady), the tireless efforts of Nona Harrison to make the sets match the Old London Period, and you have the ingredients to make a masterpiece of literature come to life on stage.

The Washington Little Theater Company hopes this will be a fitting tribute to Charles Dickens at the end of his bicentennial, as “A Christmas Carol” was at its beginning. “We also hope parents, grandparents, and children of all ages will not miss this musical theatrical experience at The Bolton Lunceford Playhouse,” Coe added.

Shows during Tour of Homes weekend will be presented April 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee performance will be offered on Saturday, April 6, at 3:00 p.m.

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