Mu­si­cal runs at CBU’s Board­more Play­house, Feb. 21-26

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Chisholm lives in Syd­ney and has writ­ten plays, songs, re­views, magazine

‘Oliver’ com­ing soon to Board­more Play­house.

“When it comes to mu­si­cal the­atre I think there is a ten­dency to fo­cus on the mu­sic and lo­cal groups have done a great job with the mu­sic,” says Todd His­cock, artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Cape Breton Univer­sity Board­more The­atre. “How­ever, I think the telling of the story, through good act­ing and di­rec­tion, has been for­got­ten. I hope to show that a mu­si­cal can be more than the mu­sic with this pro­duc­tion of ‘Oliver!’.”

“Oliver!”, the hit mu­si­cal adapted from Charles Dick­ens’ novel “Oliver Twist” by com­poser Lionel Bart, runs at the CBU Board­more Play­house, from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26.

The mu­si­cal fol­lows Oliver Twist, aban­doned as a baby in a work­house or­phan­age, as he falls among a colour­ful troupe of Lon­don pick­pock­ets (led by the sly Fa­gin) un­til he has a chance to find his real fam­ily. It was a hit mu­si­cal in both Lon­don and New York in the 1960s, be­came an Os­car-win­ning movie di­rected by Carol Reed, and has been staged around the world since then.

Au­di­ences, even if they have never seen the mu­si­cal, will know many of its many songs in­clud­ing “Con­sider Your­self At Home”, “Food, Glo­ri­ous Food!”, and “As Long as He Needs Me”, to name a few.

His­cock says the pro­duc­tion marks a de­par­ture for him as a di­rec­tor, as he notes: “I have en­joyed the up­scale as­pects of the pro­duc­tion. Ev­ery­thing needs to be big­ger — the act­ing, singing, sets, cos­tumes, and the sound and light­ing. It has been a great deal of fun bring­ing all of the spec­ta­cle of the the­atre to­gether in this show. We have a won­der­fully tal­ented cast and crew who are now pre­pared to give au­di­ences a me­morable night of the­atre.”

His­cock also ad­mits there have been chal­lenges.

“Young per­form­ers and new ac­tors in gen­eral are not used to lis­ten­ing to each other on stage,” His­cock ob­serves, “They are so fo­cused on what they have to say and do that they do not re­act in a gen­uine way to their scene part­ners. This is mag­ni­fied in a mu­si­cal be­cause the singers are so fo­cused on their singing that they for­get to in­ter­act. I think I have solved these is­sues in ‘Oliver!’.”

Along with an army of or­phans and street urchins, this pro­duc­tion of “Oliver!” fea­tures in some of its prin­ci­pal roles Jenny Dany­luk (Oliver)), Les­lie Ma­cLean, (the Art­ful Dodger), Ian Green (Fa­gin), Emily O’Leary (Nancy), Phonse Walsh (Sykes), and Ron New­combe (Mr. Bum­ble) along with many more fa­mil­iar and new faces.

Along with His­cock as di­rec­tor, “Oliver!” has Barb Stet­ter as mu­si­cal di­rec­tor and Kimberly Char­ron as stage man­ager.

“Oliver!” is the third ma­jor pro­duc­tion of the Board­more’s cur­rent sea­son.

“So far we have had a very good sea­son,” His­cock says, “The fall pro­duc­tion, ‘Once And For All We Are Go­ing To Tell You Who We Are, So Shut Up And Lis­ten’ was a great artis­tic suc­cess. I am very proud that the play­house con­tin­ues to in­tro­duce new plays and new ways of stag­ing pro­duc­tions. ‘Les Belles-Soeurs’, our Jan­uary pro­duc­tion, was a big hit, draw­ing large crowds. It was a solid pro­duc­tion all round.”

His­cock be­lieves au­di­ences will re­spond equally pos­i­tively to “Oliver!”.

“Ev­ery­one wants what Oliver achieves. A young boy over­comes great odds to find hap­pi­ness and love. For a fam­ily show you can’t go wrong with a theme like that.”

Just a re­minder that the Gov­er­nor’s Book Pub is this Tues­day evening, Feb. 21, 7 pm, fea­tur­ing au­thor Jon Tat­trie (“Re­demp­tion Songs”), and Wanda Rob­son talk­ing about her sis­ter, Vi­ola Des­mond, and her pi­o­neer con­tri­bu­tions to Cana­dian civil rights. Also bring your po­etry and prose to read dur­ing the Open Stage ses­sion.


Stand­ing sec­ond from the left in the back row, Ian Green (Fa­gin), Jenny Dany­luk (Oliver), Emily O’Leary (Nancy), and Les­lie Ma­cLean (Dodger) join their gang of pick­pock­ets in the CBU Board­more The­atre’s pro­duc­tion of “Oliver!” run­ning Feb. 21 to Feb. 26.


Jenny Dany­luk stars as the ti­tle char­ac­ter in “Oliver!”, this year’s mu­si­cal pro­duc­tion from the Cape Breton Univer­sity Board­more The­atre, ppen­ing for a six-per­for­mance run on Tues­day, Feb. 21.

Ken Chisholm The Cen­tre Isle

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