Classic Musical OLIVER! Opens Saint Sebastian Player's Season Oct. 21

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The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) open the company's 36th season with Oliver! with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. Performances run October 21-November 13 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey (enter on Marshfield), Chicago.

Bringing Charles Dickens' novel to life, this Tony Award winner takes audiences on a wild adventure through Victorian England. Young orphaned Oliver Twist navigates London's underworld of theft and violence, searching for a home, a family and, most important, love. When a boy named the Artful Dodger picks up Oliver on the street, he brings him to join a gang of child pickpockets, led by the conniving but charismatic Fagin. When Oliver is falsely accused of a theft he didn't commit, a kind and wealthy gentleman rescues him, to the dismay of Fagin's violent sidekick, Bill Sikes. Caught in the middle is the warmhearted Nancy, who is trapped under Bill's thumb, but desperate to help Oliver. The show features such spirited, timeless songs as "As Long as He Needs Me," "Food, Glorious Food" and "Where is Love."

Making his SSP directing debut is Robert-Eric West, artistic director and director of music education for Studio BE: Youth Revolution. He has directed Ragtime, Les Miserables and Fools and served as musical director for Rent, Aida, Addams Family, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors and Annie, among many others. The cast includes Jack Duffy as Oliver, Nate Becker as the Artful Dodger, SSP member Nick Ferrin as Fagin, Sean Barrett as Bill Sikes and Cathy McNamara as Nancy. Also in the cast are SSP company members Jessica Goforth, Marshall Jacobson, Kate O'Connor, Nancy Pollock and Eric S. Prahl. Other cast members include Gabrielle Cross, Lucia Duffy, Sandy Elias, Alex Iacobucci, Ali Kidder-Mostrom, Joseph Nelson, Olivia Neyman, Ron Popp, Natalie Reff, Amy Soria, Dani Tucker, Lena Valenti, Jessica Woodburn and Cosette Zielinski. The production staff includes SSP company members Paula Kenar as costume designer, AaRon Harris Woodstein as Sound Designer, Brittany Eude as stage manager and Jim Masini and Steven Walanka as producers. Also on the production team are Savannah as choreographer, Charles Blunt as lighting designer and Amy Soria as children's director.

SSP's 2016-17 season continues with the Chicago premiere of the provocative drama, Transit of Venus, by Maureen Hunter in February and March 2017 and concludes with Tom Stoppard's comic twist on Shakespeare, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, in April and May 2017. Low-priced subscriptions of $45, $30 for seniors, remain available through the run of Oliver!.

SSP began producing theatre in 1982 at its original home, the St. Sebastian parish, located at the corner of Halsted Street and Wellington Avenue on Chicago's North Side. When the parish closed in 1990, SSP relocated to its current home, St. Bonaventure, at 1625 W. Diversey. During its history, the company has produced original and previously produced dramas, comedies and musicals; original audience-participation mysteries for special events; and the Monologue Matchup Competition, as well as provided support for smaller Sebastian Studio Projects produced by company members. For a complete production history, visit saintsebastianplayers.org/production-history/.

Performances of Oliver! take place October 21-November 13, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, at Marshfield just west of Ashland, in Chicago. Free parking is available in two lots. Tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, September 19. Full-priced tickets are $25, $15 for seniors, students with valid IDs at the door and children younger than 12. Group rates also are available. All programming is subject to change. For information, call 773-404-7922 or visit saintsebastianplayers.org.



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