Con­sid­er­ing your­self part of the au­di­ence

Theatre Sar­nia presents the mu­si­cal Oliver!

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - PAUL MORDEN pmor­den@post­media.com

Theatre Sar­nia is of­fer­ing up a clas­sic serv­ing of Dick­ens, glo­ri­ous Dick­ens with the mu­si­cal set to take the stage in May at the Im­pe­rial Theatre.

Oliver! is set to open its run May 12 at the down­town theatre, with a cast of 62, plus a dog, and an­other 30 to 40 mem­bers of the com­mu­nity theatre work­ing on the crew and pro­duc­tion team.

“It’s one of my favourite child­hood sto­ries,” di­rec­tor An­thony Fra­calanza said about the 1960s Broad­way mu­si­cal adopted from Oliver Twist by Charles Dick­ens.

Just a cou­ple of years ago, Fran­calanza directed a Theatre Sar­nia pro­duc­tion of Dick­ens’ A Christmas Carol.

“When the topic of do­ing yet an­other show based around one of his sto­ries came up, I was ready to do it and jump in with both feet,” Fran­calanza said.

“He’s very de­scrip­tive, and he takes you on so many twists and turns.”

It’s a large cast for what is Fran­calanza’s first ex­pe­ri­ence di­rect­ing a mu­si­cal for the com­mu­nity theatre group, al­though he has headed up many productions for its youth group.

Patience, or­ga­ni­za­tion and team­work are the chal­lenges with a large show, he said.

“And, you re­ally do have to love the story and un­der­stand what you want to give your au­di­ence.”

The youngest mem­ber of the cast is four, and the old­est just re­cently cel­e­brated her 78th birth­day.

David Evans, who plays Fa­gin in the show, played the lead­ing role in a pro­duc­tion when he was a young­ster.

In the story, Oliver meets up with the Art­ful Dodger af­ter run­ning away from an or­phan­age, and is re­cruited to pick pock­ets for Fa­gin.

Ruth Fan­coeur, who plays the char­ac­ter Mrs. Sower­berry, was cast as one of the work­house boys in a pro­duc­tion in the late 1960s.

“It is very much beloved,” Fra­calanza said about the mu­si­cal, and the film ver­sion that won the best pic­ture prize at the 1968 Academy Awards.

The show’s pop­u­lar songs in­clude Food, Glo­ri­ous Food, Con­sider Your­self, You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two, I’ll do Any­thing and oth­ers.

Fra­calanza said even those who have seen the film and heard the songs many times, or read the book as a child, can gain from see­ing the stage ver­sion.

“There’s al­ways all these hid­den trea­sur­ers that you’ll find see­ing it again,” he said.

The cast is a mix of vet­er­ans and new­com­ers.

“It’s amaz­ing to watch ev­ery­body work to­gether, and help each other out,” Fra­calanza said.

In a show like this, the set and cos­tumes also play “a huge part” in the pro­duc­tion, he said.

The cast in­cludes Bulls­eye, a dog owned by the char­ac­ter Bill Sykes.

“He looks like Bulls­eye, but he’s ex­tremely friendly,” Fran­calanza said about the dog in the cast.

“So, that has been a chal­lenge in it­self to get him to not want to jump and lick and play, and that kind of thing. But, he’s do­ing a good job.”

Cy Gi­a­comin is the show’s mu­si­cal di­rec­tor and Sarah Matuzik is the chore­og­ra­pher. Dave Mitchell, who plays Bill Sykes, is the fight chore­og­ra­pher, and the role Oliver is be­ing shared by two ac­tors, Ben Adair and El­liott Mill­son.

Cast mem­bers have been mak­ing com­mu­nity ap­pear­ances, per­form­ing at a church pancake sup­per, the re­cent Empty Bowls fundraiser and April’s First Fri­day down­town, to pro­mote the show.

Up­com­ing ap­pear­ances in­clude Lambton Mall on Satur­day, where tick­ets to the show will be on sale, and dur­ing a Theatre Sar­nia 201718 sea­son launch event at the May First Fri­day.

Those at­tend­ing the show are be­ing asked to bring non-per­ish­able food or cash do­na­tions with them to theatre to help the Inn of the Good Shep­herd.

If You Go:

What: Oliver! pre­sented by Sar­nia Theatre. Where: The Im­pe­rial Theatre in down­town Sar­nia. When: May 12 and 13, and May 17 to 20, at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. mati­nee May 14. De­tails: Tick­ets are avail­able from the theatre box of­fice, 519344-7469, and on­line at www. im­pe­ri­althe­atre.net.

SUPLLIED/SAR­NIA

Theatre Sar­nia presents the mu­si­cal Oliver! open­ing May 12 at the Im­pe­rial Theatre in down­town Sar­nia. A cast of more than 60 are on stage in the show based on the story by Charles Dick­ens.

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