Trinity Rep to Present OLIVER!, 2/20-3/30
Trinity Rep continues its 50th anniversary season with the highly anticipated return of former artistic director and Academy-award nominated actor Richard Jenkins and his wife ShaRon Jenkins to bring the beloved musical Oliver! to the Providence stage. The show runs February 20 to March 30, 2014 in Trinity Rep's Chace Theater. The pair returns to direct and choreograph the Tony Award winning musical packed with favorite songs such as "Consider Yourself," "Who Will Buy?" and "Food, Glorious Food". This production of Oliver! is made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts and supporting sponsor The Washington Trust Company. Tickets are on sale now at www.trinityrep.com, by calling (401) 351-4242, or at the theater's box office at 201 Washington St., Downtown Providence.
"It is an understatement to say that we are thrilled that Richard and Sharon have agreed to join us to bring Oliver! to the stage this season! They are both longtime members of the Trinity Rep family - not to mention world-class talents," states Artistic Director Curt Columbus. "To have them return home for our anniversary season is just a treat for all to enjoy!"
Director Richard Jenkins was a company member at Trinity Rep for 14 seasons, starting in 1970. He served as Artistic Director for four seasons (1990-1994) and directed numerous productions during that time. Richard has appeared in over 60 feature films, and has been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, a Critics Choice award, a Gotham award, and won a Satellite award as well as an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Visitor. In 2014, he can be seen in the film God's Pocket with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Trinity's own Peter Gerety, as well appearing opposite Frances McDormand in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.
ShaRon Jenkins has been a choreographer at Trinity Rep for over 40 years, where she has worked with artistic directors Adrian Hall, Richard Jenkins, Amanda Dehnert, Oskar Eustis, and Curt Columbus. She has choreographed The Music Man, Annie, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cabaret, and Camelot. Jenkins spent 20 years as the dance director at Hope Arts Magnet School in Providence, 15 years as a dance specialist with the RI State Council on the Arts, 10 years as a dancer with RI Dance Rep, and 10 years as choreographer for The Arabella Project. In addition to her work at Trinity Rep, Sharon has worked at Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, South Coast Rep and was the choreographer for Paramount Pictures feature School Ties.
While Trinity Rep's production of Oliver! marks the first time the pair have co-directed a show together, the two share a similar aesthetic when it comes to staging theater. "We are definitely approaching this show as gritty rather than glossy," ShaRon Jenkins explains. Richard adds, "It's not about giant scenery or special effects, but instead telling a story onstage that's live, sweaty and raw. This is where a less-is-more approach lets the audience make a palpable connection to the actors."
This new Trinity Rep adaptation of the classic will vividly bring to life Dickens' timeless characters, from Oliver (Phineas Peters) the orphan boy who dares to ask for "more" to the Artful Dodger(Noah Parets), the kind-hearted Nancy(Rachael Warren), mischievous Fagin (Stephen Berenson) and the sinister Bill Sykes (Timothy John Smith). Audiences will join Oliver as he navigates the streets of 19th-century London, on a search for love and family and his place in the world.
Local audiences are pleased to welcome resident company member Rachael Warren home to the Trinity Rep stage after spending the past year with Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the starring role of Eliza Doolittle in their nine month run of My Fair Lady. The Times Standard called Warren's performance "feisty, exquisite and totally endearing," and proclaimed her a "treasure in the role." During her tenure at Trinity Rep, local audiences have enjoyed her in many plays and musicals, among them My Fair Lady, Cabaret, The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Paris by Night and Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience.
Fourteen year-old Noah Parets makes his Trinity Rep debut in Oliver! as The Artful Dodger. Noah is a Massachusetts based actor, singer, and dancer who recently lead the National Broadway tour of Billy Elliot the Musical. Ten year-old Phineas Peters is no stranger to the Trinity Rep stage having performed in A Christmas Carol the last three seasons and last year's House & Garden.
The cast also features resident company members Anne Scurria and Stephen Thorne with guest artists William John Austin, Lauren Gemelli, Tom Gleadow, Timothy John Smith, and Brown/Trinity Rep MFA actress Whitney White, '15.
Of course, no cast of Oliver! would be complete without an assortment of street urchins and the musical features a seven member children's ensemble. Bringing their energetic singing and dancing to the Trinity Rep stage are: Cranston resident Benjamin Thornton, 12; Cumberland resident Tara Sullivan, 11; East Greenwich resident Alexander LeBlanc, 11; Providence resident Samia Nash, 10; Tiverton resident Lily McMahon; Warwick residents Emma Senerchia, 11 and Eva Senerchia, 10.
To create the down and dirty London setting for the production, Richard and ShaRon Jenkins have reunited with longtime collaborator and Tony Award-winning set designer, Eugene Lee. The full team creating this "gritty rather than glossy," world of Dickens' 19th century England includes resident costume designer William Lane, lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal, musical director Michael Rice and sound designer Peter Sasha Horowitz.
Continuing Trinity Rep's tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, the theater will have discounted previews of Oliver! from February 20 through February 22 at 7:30pm. Friday February 21 is a Pay What You Can (PWYC) performance with tickets on sale at 6:30pm that evening, limit one per person. Saturday, March 22 at 2pm will include American Sign Language interpretation and patrons may request seats in view of the interpreter when purchasing. Sunday, March 23 at 2pm will be Open Captioned. Additionally, talkbacks will be held after every performance of Oliver! Audiences are invited to share their response to the production and themes for approximately twenty minutes following the performance.
During the run of Oliver!, Trinity Rep is proud to serve as a drop off location for the Washington Trust Peanut Butter Drive, which is currently in its 14th year of collecting donations of jars of peanut butter for local Rode Island food banks. Patrons are encouraged to bring a jar of peanut butter with them when they come to see a performance and drop it in one of the lobby collection bins on their way into the theater. One jar of donated peanut butter will make 16 sandwiches for a hungry family!
Trinity Rep's 50th Anniversary season is sponsored by NBC 10, with supporting sponsors Cox Media, Rhode Island Monthly and RISCA.