Arts & Life
Willy Loman struggles between the
American dream and HIS American reality.
Ensemble player Michael Wolland takes on
almost a dozen roles in • "Oliver!"
by Arthur Miller
Special to the Jewish News
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here's no rest for Michael
Wolland in between the times
he appears onstage in the musi-
cal Oliver.'That's because he has to rush
through 11 costume changes as he takes
on as many roles in the touring ensem-
ble appearing Jan. 25-30 at the Fox
Wolland's characters include a pauper,
barrel maker and bar patron, and they
all keep him singing and dancing.
"I love the innocence of this musical,"
says Wolland, 23, who gets costume
help from a dresser and undergoes only
minimal makeup alterations, brown cos-
metics when there's a suggestion of a
dirty face and white creams when there
are certain dance sequences. "It's a musi-
cal for kids with elements for adults," he
Oliver!, based on the classic Charles
Dickens novel Oliver Twist and adapted
for the musical stage by the late Lionel
Bart, tells the story of a 19th-century
orphaned boy who escapes to London
from a bleak workhouse and is taken in
by a gang of apprentice pickpockets run
by master thief Fagin. When Oliver is
falsely accused of exposing the gang, he
begins to realize he has more friends
than he thought.
In the novel, it is stressed that the evil
character of Fagin is Jewish. Not so in
"Before my grandmother came to see
the play, she asked about the character of
Fagin," says Wolland, who grew up out-
side Washington, D.C., and attended
Hebrew school from the time he was in
kindergarten until his bar mitzvah. "I
explained that the musical does not ref-
erence him as a Jew. The novel is much
darker than the musical."
Oliver!, which debuted in London in
1960, came to Broadway in 1963 and
won three Tony Awards, for Best
Composer and Lyricist, Best Conductor
and Musical Director, and Best Scenic
The current North American tour is
based on Cameron Mackintosh's 1994
London revival and features direction by
Graham Gill, choreography by Geoffiey
Michael Wol land
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The cast of "Oliver!" performs Lionel Bart's "You've Got To Pick a Pocket. or Two."