Wheelock Family Theatre Presents OLIVER!, Beginning 1/25

By: Jan. 08, 2013
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Adapted from the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Book, music, and lyrics by Lionel Bart. Directed by Susan Kosoff. Musical direction by Jon Goldberg. Choreography by Laurel Conrad. Scenic design by Anthony Hancock. Lighting design by Franklin Meissner, Jr. Costume Design by Charles G. Baldwin.

Charles Dickens's England was not an easy place to be left on your own. Oliver, a young boy with no apparent family, learns quickly how unwelcome children can be in a world rampant with poverty and hunger. Lionel Bart captures perfectly the boisterous, comic, and tragic characters of Oliver Twist, infusing this classic tale with a feast of memorable songs. Lighter in mood than the original novel, the musical's themes remain the same: the search for love, the triumph of right over wrong, and the hope for a better world.

In a directorial twist, the role of the clever criminal, Fagin, in the Wheelock Family Theatre production of "Oliver!" will be played by WFT co-founder and co-artistic director, Jane Staab. A vital member of Boston's theatre community since 1961, Jane has been Wheelock's resident Equity actress as well as the casting director. As the casting director, Ms. Staab has been a part of launching many professional careers, including Larry Coen, Diego Arcienegas, Cheryl McMahon, Andrea Ross, Andrew Barbato, and Katherine Doherty.

Ms. Staab received her B.S. and training from Northwestern University, after which she went on to become a professional actor, working with the Hartford Stage Company, California Shakespearean Festival, and Roundabout Theater, among many others. Jane has worked in television, film, and radio, with companies including PBS and WGBH. As a director, Jane has done extensive work with the Harwich Winter Theater and Wheelock Family Theatre. Her productions include Fiddler on the Roof, A Little Princess, and Once Upon a Mattress, and she has appeared in numerous shows at Wheelock including Belle of Amherst, Peter Pan, The King and I, and last year's The Wizard of Oz. Jane teaches theater classes at Wheelock College and is a skilled actor coach, pianist, and percussionist.

In the role of Fagin, Jane portrays a woman living as a conniving, thieving man. The historical instances of women passing as men are not few; history is full of such people, particularly in the 19th century during the time of Dickens. Throughout the Civil War women often assumed the names and identities of men and fought in battle for patriotic and economic reasons. Billy Tipton, a notable jazz musician and bandleader, lived his entire life as a man before being discovered as biologically female upon his death. In the media, films like the recent Albert Nobbs about a woman living as a man to attain independence and equality publicize these people on a larger scale. In Oliver!, Jane draws on countless women who pursued equality and opportunity living their lives passing as men in order to add a new dimension to the character of Fagin.

January 25 - February 24, 2013

•Tickets: $30, $25, $20; Teens take-over Fridays: $15
•Box Office: 617-879-2300; tickets@wheelock.edu
•Website: www.WheelockFamilyTheatre.org


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