Oliver Twist was Charles Dickens' second novel, and it definitely was not a children’s book.
Twist was notable for its unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives, as well as for exposing the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid-19th century. Lionel Bart’s OLIVER! however, is a children’s adventure story, presenting the trials and tribulations of our hero’s precarious navigation of 19th century London with glorious song, delightful dance, villains and heros, and always through a child’s eye.
It is this spirit of adventure that we embraced in this production, for in my experience theater is one of the greatest adventures of all. “The playing’s the thing” and our ensemble went to great lengths to bring forth an OLIVER! that surprises and delights. We removed some of traditional boundaries that separate audience from performer, all in the name of furthering engagement in the experience. The entire aim was to offer a gift to our audience and our community, to briefly distract from our tumultuous times, and to draw a smile and perhaps a sentimental tear. I sincerely hope that they forgave us for our exuberance.