WELL-KNOWN MUSICAL AT CBU
Musical runs at CBU’s Boardmore Playhouse, Feb. 21-26
‘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.