Much-anticipated rehearsal images showcasing the Oliver! company in action have been released by Leeds Playhouse, featuring the ensemble cast of actors creating the world of Victorian London.
The spectacular production will open at the Playhouse from 24 November 2023 until 27 January 2024 and promises to take audiences on a musical adventure.
Rehearsal images reveal actor, comedian, musician and writer Steve Furst as Fagin working with Director James Brining as they weave their way through the majestic lines of Lionel Bart’s musical. They also show Nicholas Teixeira, 9 from Manchester, Carter-J Murphy, 9 from Manchester and Theo Wake,10 from Edinburgh, in the role of loveable orphan Oliver Twist, and Hughie Higginson, 13 from Hull, Felix Holt, 11 from Sheffield, and Noah Walton, 13 from Stockton on Tees, as the skillful, cunning and cheeky The Artful Dodger. Noah was last seen at the Playhouse in 2022 when he starred as Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical.
Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining: “I’m working with an absolutely brilliant team. Both onstage and backstage, we’re working hard to create a show that will excite and move audiences. There are some amazing ensemble numbers as well as powerful and evocative solos and when the full cast of 35 comes together the atmosphere is electric. OLIVER! truly is a wonderful example of the musical theatre repertoire and it’s a privilege to be working on such epic and iconic material.”
Further images reveal leading West End actor Jenny Fitzpatrick as Nancy with Frankie Hart playing best friend Bet as they work with Choreographer and Intimacy Director Lucy Hind and Associate Choreographer Jo Goodwin, expertly fusing the 38-strong young company with the adult cast to create this epic musical.
The adult company will be completed by Chris Bennett; Minal Patel; Zac Adlam; Laura Cairns; Rachel Clare Chan; Rosie Ede; Christopher Glover; Llandyll Gove; Simon Green; Danny Lane; Rachel Laurence; Jake Lomas; Martha Pothen; Michaela Stern; Harry Waller; and Scott Waugh.
They will be joined by a further thirty-two young people:Aness Ahmed; Beatrice Armitage; Cyrus Campbell; Ella Jade Chadwick; Zane Chaba; Ariana Dar; Rose Dawson; Rebecca English; Aaron Fu; Ana Sofia Gutierrez Robson; Fearne Lily I’Anson; Kalil Judge; Shayne M Maphosa; Leo Maurice; Oliver Maurice; Amelia Minto; Jenson Lee McMaster; Jett Moises; Karis Musongole; Kayleen Nguema; Chizaram Ochuba-Okafor; Maxwell Paton; Robyn Pennington; Alexa Raja; Reggie Rollins; Jessica Russell; Hugh Jack Ryan; Porscha Mai Staniford; Tommy Thompson; Maddison Thew; Raine Williamson and Buster Wolfenden.
Completing the creative team are: Set and Costume Designer Colin Richmond; Toby Higgins Musical Supervisor; Guy Hoare Lighting Designer; Richard Brooker Sound Designer; Luke Holman Musical Director; Knoetics Music Orchestral Manager; Eleanor Manners Associate Director/Voice Coach; Kenan Ali Fight Director; Associate Sound Designer Nick Lodge; Keston & Keston Children’s Casting & General Management; Annelie Powell Casting Director; Alice Walters Casting Assistant and Abrehet Semra Trainee Assistant Director.
Lionel Bart’s award-winning musical, adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless novel, features some of the most memorable characters and well-loved songs seen on stage, including ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘Oom Pah-Pah’, ‘I’d Do Anything’ and the angelic sounds of ‘Where is Love?’.
Oliver! is a classic rags-to-riches story. Born into a life of poverty and misfortune, orphaned Oliver is a small boy with a big heart. He sets out on a perilous journey from a desolate workhouse to the gloriously colourful streets of Victorian London in search of love and a place to call home. There he’s befriended by the charming Artful Dodger and kindly Nancy before being drawn into Fagin’s gang of young pickpockets where he comes under the terrifying gaze of dastardly Bill Sikes.
Relaxed and dementia friendly performances will be available and a selection of digital resources, created by the Playhouse’s award-winning Creative Engagement department, will be available free to all schools who book to see the production.
Families are at the heart of the theatre experience at Leeds Playhouse this festive season where, alongside Oliver!, the Playhouse will stage an exciting new musical version of Roald Dahl’s picture book The Enormous Crocodile, about a huge, hungry crocodile searching for a delicious child to have for tea. It will bring unforgettable music, world-class puppetry and enormous amounts of fun to the Courtyard Theatre at Leeds Playhouse from 2 December–6 January. As well as enjoying the theatrical delights, families can make use of the theatre’s child-friendly facilities, including its free creative play area, baby change and family toilets, highchairs and special catering options.
Leeds Playhouse’s Autumn/Winter 2023 season is sponsored by Caddick and Moda, in a unique partnership spanning ten years of investing in culture in the Leeds City Region.
All dates are on sale now unless otherwise indicated. A Leeds Playhouse Production
By special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh
Lionel Bart’s Oliver!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart, freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
Orchestral arrangements by William David Brohn
Production licensed by Music Theatre International
Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre
Age guide 8+
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk
A Leeds Playhouse, Roald Dahl Story Company and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production.
Feature photograph by Robling Pix. Company meet and greet.