Oliver! | Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Based on Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, this 1960 musical by Lionel Bart cannily blends sentiment, suspense, and rowdy comedy to tell the tale of an orphan boy taken up by a gang of juvenile pickpockets. Rudy Hogenmiller's briskly paced, rousing revival for Light Opera Works features engaging dances and a fine cast led by boy soprano Michael Semanic as the feisty young hero; Darren Barrere as Oliver's criminal mentor, the Artful Dodger; and James Harms as the adult ringleader, Fagin. Colette Todd belts out the torch song "As Long as He Needs Me" to great effect. Adam Veness's turntable set creates an evocative image of the London slums, and a full orchestra does justice to Bart's tuneful score, modeled on the British music hall tradition. --Albert Williams



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