West End's OLIVER! to Close Jan 8; SHREK on His Way?

Whatsonstage reports that the West End's OLIVER! revival has set a closing date of 8 January, 2011. The production opened on 14 January 2009 with the West End's largest advance ever: £15 million. A spokesperson for the show said that "for a show as enormous as OLIVER!, a two-year run at Drury Lane is just fantastic, so we are going to have a sensational six-month send-off." That send-off includes a special engagement on 30 June 2010, in which Ron Moody will return to the role of 'Fagin' for a special one-night-only 50th anniversary performance. He began performances in the same role at London's New Theatre on 30 June, 1960.

The closing announcement fuels rumors of a March 2011 opening for Broadway's SHREK to open at the 2200-seat Drury Lane. An official announcement is expected shortly.

The new production of Lionel Bart's musical masterpiece OLIVER! stars Russ Abott as 'Fagin,' Kerry Ellis as 'Nancy,' and Steven Hartley as 'Bill Sikes' at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Rupert Goold (winner of the 2008 Olivier Award 'Best Director') directed the production, which is based on Sam Mendes' triumphant 1994 staging, along with Tony Award-winning co-director and choreographer Matthew Bourne. Production design is by Anthony Ward, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound by Paul Groothuis, with orchestrations by William D Brohn.

The 1994 London Palladium production of OLIVER! played 1,366 performances over three years and grossed more than £40 million at the box office, breaking the then-record for the longest run at that theatre.

Performance times for "OLIVER!" at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane will be as follows evening performances are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets, priced from £17.50 - £60.00 for all performances, will be available from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Box Office on 0844 412 2955 and online at www.oliverthemusical.com.

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