Oliver! was a sold out show in the Hannah Center Theater both nights March 8 and 9.  Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! is based on the adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1839 novel Oliver Twist.

The story chronicles the life and struggles of the eponymous orphan boy and his many attempts to find a stable home and ultimately, life.

Along the way, he meets a variety of characters from different backgrounds—some genteel and kind-hearted, others exploitative and violent. Particular characters of note are the elegant ruffian the Artful Dodger, the stingy Fagin, the malevolent Bill Sikes, Sikes’ complex and strong-willed partner Nancy, and the good-natured Mr. Brownlow. 


Max Epstein as Bill Sikes

This year’s musical involved students and faculty from all three divisions at O’Neal.

The cast included Judy Goetzl as Oliver, Clara Lussier as The Artful Dodger, Reese Fisher as Fagin, Ana Huesa as Nancy, Max Epstein as Bill Sikes, Beatrice “Trixie” Gomlak as Mr. Brownlow, Matt Jacobs as Mr. Bumble, Virginia Andres as Mrs. Corney, Piper Everts as Bet, Meghan Brianas as Mr. Sowerberry, Kaleigh O’Leary as Mrs. Sowerberry, Teagan McVeigh as Charlotte, Carson Pusser as Noah Claypole, Sahara Kokott as Mrs. Bedwin, Nik Epstein as Mr. Grimwig, Ria Elamaran as Old Sally, Rob Mays as Charley Bates, Thomas Garrett, Charlotte Mills, Lauren Goodridge, Sofi Afable, Nik Epstein, Rob Mays, Caitlyn Blocklinger as the chorus. The Lower School musical group, the O’Nealers, performed “Food Glorious Food” and “Oliver”.


Reese Fisher as Fagin and chorus members.

Members of the O’Neal production team include theatrical director Ian Watson, musical director David Lussier, choreographer Amanda Bumgarner, and dramaturg/assistant director, and O’Neal senior, Jenna Burns.

“I am very encouraged to see the strides that theater is making at O’Neal,” says Director Ian Watson. “We’ve tried to cultivate unity by putting on socially important work that spans all divisions. We hope to continue putting on high-level productions that push storytelling and technical limitations. I wholeheartedly believe O’Neal Theater can be a place where students are given individualized opportunities typically not given until college in many areas of theater such as playwriting, directing, and dramaturgy.”

Feature photo: Ana Huesa as Nancy.


All photos taken courtesy of Tom Reedy.

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