Name that character: “Please, sir, I want some more.”
Yep, that’s Oliver Twist. The sweet, young orphan who must navigate the world’s cruelties from workhouses to foul caregivers and thieving pickpockets.
Productions and actors come and go, but the sweet and innocent spirit of Oliver Twist stays the same. Let’s meet the many faces who played the beloved orphan over the years…
The Original London Production (1960)
The very first Oliver, leading the way for future child actors, was none other than Keith Hamshere, who was 14 at the time of the production. The Original London Production ran for 2,618 performances! Fun facts: Keith Hamshere left acting to pursue a career as a Hollywood still photographer. His work includes films such as James Bond and Star Wars.
Original Broadway Production (1963)
The original Broadway production, starring young Bruce Prochnik in the role of Oliver, ran from 1963 to 1964 with a total of 774 performances! Not only was the musical a success with audiences, but it was also a winner of 3 Tony Awards: Best Original Score (Lionel Bart), Best Conductor and Musical Director (Don Pippin), and Best Scenic Design (Sean Kenny)!
Fun Fact: In 1962, Bruce Prochnik played Oliver Twist in a UK TV miniseries.
Bonus: Georgia Brown and Barry Humphries from the Original London Production reprised their roles as Nancy and Mr. Sowerberry in the Original Broadway Production.
Oliver! The Film (1968)
The film Oliver! features young Mark Lester and it is based on the stage musical, using the same music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. Though the film does eliminate some song numbers such as “I Shall Scream” and “That’s Your Funeral”, the film was a smashing success! It was a winner of six Academy Awards and two Golden Globes!
Fun Fact: Oliver’s songs were actually dubbed by actress and singer Kathe Green.
Come and see our very own Sadie Smith in the role of Oliver Twist for ASPI’s production of Oliver! Get your tickets NOW for a show that will have you begging for more! To order tickets, go to www.abramstheater.com or call the box office at 920-826-5852.