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June 29, 2006 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-06-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ART IN THE WOODS

14th Annual Juried Art Fair

Sat. July 1: 10-5
Sun. July 2: 11-5

♦ Fine Art

Hitting The Right Notes

♦ Fine Craft

♦ Live Musical Entertainment

Oliver!, South Pacific shine at Stratford Festival.

♦ Food

♦ Kids Play Area

(Brian McKay).
Bill Carroll
Oliver escapes and naively joins a
Special to the Jewish News
gang of child pickpockets — like the
Artful Dodger (Scott Beaudin) — run
usical theater lovers should
by
criminal mastermind Fagin (Colm
not let rising gas prices and
Feore).
The kindly Mr. Brownlow
possible delays crossing the
(Stephen
Russell) rescues Oliver, but
Canadian border keep them from mak-
complications
follow, involving the bru-
ing the trek to the Stratford Festival
tal
Bill
Sikes
(Brad
Rudy), his girlfriend
of Canada this year. Superb produc-
Nancy
(Blythe
Wilson)
and others.
tions of two classic shows by Jewish
Pearse,
a
mere
10
years
old, turns in a
composers are in store for them in the
creditable
job
as
Oliver,
singing
"Where
Shakespeare-focused lineup.
Is
Love?"

but
extra
kudos
go
to the
Oliver! by Lionel Bart is at the
other
18
"orphans,"
ages
9-14,
and
to
Festival Theatre, and South Pacific
Wilson
for
her
acting,
dancing
and
a
by Richard Rodgers and Oscar
fine
rendition
of
"As
Long
As
He
Needs
Hammerstein II plays the Avon Theatre.
Me!'
Both productions run through
Dow almost steals the show as the
the end of October, and each is up to
Falstaffian
Bumble, wooing the Widow
Stratford's high musical standards,
Corney
(Mary
Ellen Mahoney) and
with top-notch leading performers and
chasing
Oliver
all
over the stage. McKay
strong supporting casts and innovative
puts
everything
into
a small role, sing-
and
(Oliver!)
directing by Donna Feore
ing,"That's
Your
Funeral':
with Bumble,
(South
Pacific).
Michael Lichtefeld
and Feore gets star billing as the last
actor to take a bow at the end.
'Oliver!'
Bart was born in London to Jewish
Oliver! is based on the dark 1838
parents
from Galicia (his father was a
Oliver
Twist,
Charles Dickens novel,
tailor).
But
he removed all Jewish refer-
which emphasized the evils of work-
ences
to
the
Fagin character, often listed
houses and the ill treatment of orphans.
as
"Fagin,
the
Jew" in the nonmusical
But Bart (born Begleiter), who wrote
and transformed
Oliver,
versions
of
music,
lyrics
and
book,
freely
Oliver!'s
adapted the novel for the stage, sticking him from a cruel figure into a humor-
ous rascal. Feore excels singing "You've
to the plot but softening the characters
Got To Pick a Pocket or Two,Be Back
and bringing out the humanity in the
Soon" and "Reviewing the Situation," in
villains.
which he contemplates going straight,
Oliver! ran for six years in London
and three more on Broadway; Bart took portending a happy ending (in the
book, he's arrested and hanged).
home the 1963 Tony Award for Best
Bart himself had to finance Oliver!
Composer and Lyricist for his work on
after it was turned down by a dozen
the musical.
promoters. Yet the show received 16
At Stratford, the Festival Theatre's
curtain calls on opening night in
three-sided stage lends itself perfectly
London. The composer, who had no
to the show;
formal musical education, became a set
it has inti-
painter while in high school. He saw an
macy for
ad for a composer-lyricist, started writ-
small scenes
ing and was then declared a musical
yet generous
genius
by his teachers.
space for big
He later wrote Blitz!, Maggie May
production
and Twang, but nothing ever achieved
numbers
Oliver!'s fame. Beset by alcoholism,
like "Food,
diabetes
and depression, Bart died of
Glorious
cancer,
at
age 68, in 1999.
Food':
"Consider
Colm Feore as Fagin
Yourself" and 'South Pacific'
South Pacific is based on author James
"Oom-Pah-Pah."
Michener's 1947 book Tales of the
In the story, young Oliver Twist,
South Pacific, which relates short sto-
played by Tyler Pearse, is raised in a
ries about his life as a Navy lieutenant
bleak Victorian workhouse, his parent-
on an island during World War II (both
age unknown. When he dares to ask
his book and the musical won Pulitzer
for more gruel at mealtime, the town
Prizes).
beadle, Mr. Bumble (Bruce Dow), sells
Right Notes on page 45
him to Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker

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art: AJ Ripley

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June 29 • 2006

43

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