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Logo from the Original London production

A Musical Play in 2 Acts, 12 scenes - Freely based on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist

Book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart

New Theatre, London 30 June, 1960 (2618 perfs)

Imperial Theatre, Broadway - 6 January, 1963 (774 perfs)


The curtain opens on the sinister interior of the workhouse with a bare dining table. Pale-faced wretches can be seem peering through the bars of the door at the back. The door opens and the boys file in to the table singing "Food, Glorious Food". Widow Corney, who runs the workhouse, and Mr Bumble, the parish beadle, enter to serve gruel to the boys. Alone amongst them Oliver takes the bowl to Bumble and asks, "Please, Sir, I want some more." Bumble is outraged. Oliver must go and so he hawks Oliver through the streets of London singing "Boy For Sale." Oliver is sold to Mr Sowerberry, the undertaker. Alone, plaintive and surrounded by coffins, Oliver sings, "Where Is Love?"

He runs away and meets the Artful Dodger who sings "Consider Yourself At Home". Oliver is taken to a hideout to meet Fagin and the apprentice thieves - they welcome Oliver with "You've Got To Pick a Pocket Or Two". Nancy, Bill Sykes girl, and Bet arrive and sing "It's A Fine Life". Next morning Oliver goes with the boys and is arrested by the police, not for picking pockets but simply for looking guilty.

In Act 2 Nancy sings "Oom-pah-pah". Fagin's boys tell of Oliver's arrest by the police but that, as he has been found to be innocent, he is now safe in the house of a kindly, rich gentleman. Fagin and Sykes despatch Nancy to get Oliver back. Meanwhile, Oliver has become a well-cared for little lad. Seeing London street-traders from his bedroom window he sings "Who Will Buy?", a plea that his good fortune will become permanent. However, outside the house he is captured by Nancy and she returns him to Fagin. Fagin sings "Reviewing the Situation" and thinks of going straight.

Bumble and Mrs Corney, now married, discover that Oliver is the heir to a rich family and try to get him back. A regretful Nancy plans to return Oliver to his benefactor. She is fearful of Sykes yet sings, "As Long As He Needs Me". Sykes stalks and kills her, grabs Oliver and, after a chase, is shot dead. Oliver is restored to his benefactor who, as it turns out, is his own grandfather. Fagin, now minus the boys, home and money, reprises "Reviewing the Situation".

Oliver! is truly a masterpiece and shows off the talents of Lionel Bart at his best. As one reviewer put it, "With this show, the audience whistles the tunes as they COME IN to the theatre."


Male - 17: Female - 10: Plus chorus (some with vocal parts)

Original Cast

with Charles Brown, Christopher Cooke, Jonathan Collins, Peter Eveleigh, Patrick Furlong, Michael Goodman, Clive Green, Brian Lewis, Dennis Mallard, Stephen Marriott, Barry Newnham, Nicholas Norman, Tony Robinson, Alan Shortland, Royston Thomas, Sally Biton, Anna Leroy, Jean Ann Page, Janet Pate, Elizabeth Perry, David Beaumont, Jonathan Bromley, Eric Holmes, Rob Inglis, Larry Oaks, Stanley Price, Brian Scott, Jim Sparrow.

Musical Numbers

    1. Food, Glorious Food - The Boys
    2. Oliver! - Mr. Bumble, Mrs Corney, Oliver, Boys
    3. I Shall Scream - Mrs Corney, Mr. Bumble
    4. Boy For Sale - Mr. Bumble
    5. That's Your Funeral - Mr Sowerberry, Mr. Bumble, Mrs Sowerberry
    6. Where Is Love? - Oliver
    7. Consider Yourself - Artful Dodger, Oliver, Crowd
    8. You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two - Fagin, Oliver, Boys
    9. It's a Fine Life - Nancy, Bet
    10. I'd Do Anything - Artful Dodger, Nancy, Oliver, Bet, Fagin
    11. Be Back Soon - Fagin, Artful Dodger, Oliver, Boys
    12. Oom-Pah-Pah - Nancy, Company
    13. My Name - Bill Sikes
    14. As Long as He Needs Me - Nancy
    15. Where Is Love? (reprise) - Mrs Bedwin
    16. Who Will Buy? - Oliver, Chorus
    17. It's a Fine Life (reprise) - Bill Sikes, Nancy, Fagin, Boys
    18. Reviewing the Situation - Fagin
    19. Oliver! (reprise) - Mr. Bumble, Mrs Corney
    20. As Long As He Needs Me (reprise) - Nancy
    21. Reviewing the Situation (reprise) - Fagin
    22. Finale: Food, Glorious Food/Consider Yourself /I'd Do Anything - Full Company

Scenes and Settings

The action takes place about 1850, in the North of England and London.

Act 1

Scene 1: The Workhouse.
Scene 2: The Workhouse Parlour.
Scene 3: The Undertaker's.
Scene 4: Paddington Green.
Scene 5: The Thieves' Kitchen.
Scene 6: Streets of London.

Act 2

Scene 1: The "Three Cripples."
Scene 2: The Brownlow's.
Scene 3: The Thieves' Kitchen.
Scene 4: The Workhouse.
Scene 5: The Brownlow's.
Scene 6: London Bridge.



Reed 1, 2, 3 & 4: Horn 1 & 2: Trumpet 1 & 2: Trombone 1 & 2: Percussion: Violin 1 & 2: Viola: Cello: Bass.

A combo is also available


Listen to the Music Listen to the Music (You will need to have Real Player installed and Java Script enabled - Real Player can be downloaded from here also)