The Valley Players will present “Oliver!” – Lionel Bart's musical based on Charles Dickens' novel, “Oliver Twist” – from October 4 through 20 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield. Ten children and 20 teens and adults from around central Vermont will bring this classic story to life. The production is directed by Ruth Ann Pattee with music direction by Michael Halloran. Mikki Nucci is the set designer and Irene Halibosek is the lighting designer. The stage manager is Joanne Puente.
The Tony and Olivier Award-winning show is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and is widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike. “Oliver!” tells the story of a malnourished orphan (played on rotating nights by Christopher Cummiskey and Tarin Askew, both of Warren) in a workhouse, who becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. Oliver escapes to London and finds acceptance among a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the rogue Fagin (Matthew Grant Winston, Williamstown). When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, the benevolent victim, Mr. Brownlow (Tom Badowski, Moretown), takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, the sinister Bill Sikes (Andrew Roy, Montpelier) forces his sympathetic girlfriend Nancy (Marie Schmukal, Warren) to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family. Parents bringing children are cautioned that the story contains violence and bullying, a part of everyday street life in 1850s London. Proceeds from intermission refreshment sales will go to Circle, a Washington County–based organization dedicated to providing shelter, support and education for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.