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)
- Director: Peter Coe;
- Musical Director: Ronnie Franklin//Marcus Dods;
- Choreography: Malcolm Clare//;
- Scenery/costume Design: Sean Kenny
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)
- Oliver Twist - Keith Hamshere/Royston Thomas/Martin Stephens/Colin Page/Michael Mennick/Kit Williams/Stevie Walters/Terence Holmes/Kim Goodman/Robert Cook/Peter Bartlett/Raymond Ward/Tommy Mann &c
- Mr Bumble - Paul Whitsun-Jones/Robert Bridges/Rob Inglis
- Mrs Corney - Hope Jackman/Olwen Griffiths/Brenda Scaife
- Old Sally - Betty Turner
- Mrs Sowerberry - Sonia Fraser/Julia Nelson/Edna Dore
- Mr Sowerberry Barry Humphries/Michael Bretton/David Pugh/David Monico
- Charlotte - Apple Brook/Janet Pate/Penny Reid/Irene French
- Noah Claypole - Trevor Ray/David Beaumont
- Fagin - Ron Moody/John Bluthal/Aubrey Woods/Johnny Lockwood
- Artful Dodger - Martin Horsey/Tony Robinson/Michael Goodman/Chris Andrews/Leonard Whiting/David Jones/Jimmy Handley/Jimmy Thomas/Stephen Leigh &c
- Nancy - Georgia Brown/Vivienne Martin/Judith Bruce/Nicolette Roeg/Elizabeth Perry/Penny Allen
- Bet - Dian Grey/Vivien Read/Gillian Hoyle/Deborah Cranston/Winnie Hunt/Carla Challoner/Lynn Bartlett/Sally Handley/Janet Krasowki/Marian Dore/Beryl Corsan/Kathryn Handley/Glenda Sims &c
- Bill Sikes - Danny Sewell/John Orchard/Harry Goodier/George Little
- Mr Brownlow - George Bishop
- Mr Grimwig - Claude Jones/Stanley Price/Peter Sugden
- Mrs Bedwin - Madeleine Newbury/Audrey Leybourne
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.
- Food, Glorious Food - The Boys
- Oliver! - Mr. Bumble, Mrs Corney, Oliver, Boys
- I Shall Scream - Mrs Corney, Mr. Bumble
- Boy For Sale - Mr. Bumble
- That's Your Funeral - Mr Sowerberry, Mr. Bumble, Mrs
- Where Is Love? - Oliver
- Consider Yourself - Artful Dodger, Oliver, Crowd
- You've Got To Pick a Pocket or Two - Fagin, Oliver,
- It's a Fine Life - Nancy, Bet
- I'd Do Anything - Artful Dodger, Nancy, Oliver, Bet,
- Be Back Soon - Fagin, Artful Dodger, Oliver, Boys
- Oom-Pah-Pah - Nancy, Company
- My Name - Bill Sikes
- As Long as He Needs Me - Nancy
- Where Is Love? (reprise) - Mrs Bedwin
- Who Will Buy? - Oliver, Chorus
- It's a Fine Life (reprise) - Bill Sikes, Nancy, Fagin,
- Reviewing the Situation - Fagin
- Oliver! (reprise) - Mr. Bumble, Mrs Corney
- As Long As He Needs Me (reprise) - Nancy
- Reviewing the Situation (reprise) - Fagin
- 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.
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.
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 (You will need to have Real Player installed and Java Script enabled - Real Player can be downloaded from here also)