“Oliver” a British stage musical, based on the 1838 book “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens, will open at Palisades High School in Mercer Hall, tomorrow, Thursday, March 24. There are limited performances with additional 7 p.m. performances on March 25, March 26, March 31 and April 1 and April 2. There will be two Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on March 26 and April 2.
Directors Cheri and Monique Smith always have fantastic choreography, and the talent is top-notch. After the school and the drama department has been closed down for the past two years for Covid, the directors decided to do a big ensemble show to allow more students a chance to showcase their talents in this spring musical.
Complete with a 16-piece orchestra, this may be one of the best musicals a resident will find on the Westside. Many of the kids who perform at PaliHi go on to stage, movie and music careers, such as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Penelope Ann Miller, David and Thomas Newman, Redfoo, Katey Sagal, Amy Smart, Forest Whitaker, Jeff Bridges, Christie Brinkley, Helene York and of course director J.J. Abrams.
This 43-member cast includes Willa Browne (Oliver), Desi Friedberg (Fagin), Oona Fitzmaurice (Nancy), Nicolas Libonati (Bill Sikes), Henry Mueller (The Artful Dodger), Annika Johansson (Bet) Jacob Accardo (Mr. Bumble) Stella Becir (Mrs. Corney) and Spencer Rodman (Mr. Brownlow).
The musical premiered in 1960, and in 1968 a film adaptation won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Many may remember the story of the orphan, who dares to ask for more food, only to be sold as an undertaker’s apprentice. His life takes a turn for the worse and he’s locked in a coffin, only to escape and start a life of crime as a pickpocket.
Eventually Oliver is recognized as belonging to a wealthy family, but not before Oliver is held hostage by Bill Sikes.
The songs are lovely, people will remember humming along to “Where is Love,” “It’s a Fine Life,” and one of this editor’s favorite torch songs, “As Long as He Needs Me.”
Come on down to the Three Cripples pub aka Mercer Hall, 15777 Bowdoin Street, and have a fine time with the orphans and ruffians.
Tickets may be purchased on https://gofan.co/App/SChool/CA18976 . Students $10, general admission $16 and VIP $25.
Anyone entering the high school must show a VAX card or proof of a negative Covid Test.