Theatre-At-Tusculum's 'Oliver!' Opens Friday

Among cast members in the Theatre-at-Tusculum production of “Oliver!” are, seated in the front row, from left: Tom Sizemore, Sandy Nienaber and Zach Wallin. Standing in the second row are: Aden Moore, Linda Brimer and Jorja Ward. In the back are Brian Ricker, Chris Greene and Bill Sikes.

Tickets are now available for Theatre-at-Tusculum’s production of Lionel Bart’s classic musical, “Oliver!”

The musical, based on the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens, will open Friday at the Annie Hogan Byrd Theatre on the Tusculum College campus.

Audiences will have seven opportunities to see Theatre-at-Tusculum’s fall production, under the direction of Artist-in-Residence and Tusculum Arts Outreach Director Marilyn duBrisk and Assistant Director Brian Ricker.

Show dates are Nov. 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and older and $5 for children 12 and younger, a news release says. Tickets may be picked up and paid for at the box office the day of the performance, or scheduled for pickup by the Tusculum Arts Outreach office.

Tickets can be reserved by contacting Box Office Manager Jennifer Hollowell at 798-1620 or jhollowell@tusculum.edu. When reserving tickets, include a name, a contact telephone number, the date for which you wish to reserve the tickets, the number of tickets and the type of ticket.

Tickets may only be purchased with cash or check. Credit/debit cards are not accepted.

The box office, located in the lobby of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts building, will open an hour and a half prior to each show. The house will open an hour prior to curtain. Seating is not assigned and will be first come, first served, the news release says.

A cast of more than 70 has been assembled by duBrisk and her creative team to bring to life the tale of Oliver Twist and his adventures and misadventures. The show features all the well-known characters from Dickens’ novel, portrayed by a host of local talent.

The story centers around a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist, played by Doak Elementary School fourth-grader Aden Moore, as he is sent away from the Workhouse Orphanage by the wicked Widow Corney, portrayed by Sandy Nienaber.

The boy is then sold by Mr. Bumble, the beadle of the workhouse, played by Tom Sizemore, to Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker and his cantankerous wife. The Sowerberrys are played by Matt Hensley and Sara Claiborne.

After fleeing the oppressive undertaker, Oliver joins up with a band of pickpockets lead by the Artful Dodger, portrayed by Caedmon Oakes. The pickpockets are trained and cared for by the greedy and cunning Fagin, who is being brought to life by local favorite Chris Greene.

As he is welcomed into Fagin’s den of pickepockets, he meets the kind-hearted heroine Nancy, played by Linda Barnett on her return to the Tusculum stage, and her abusive lover Bill Sikes, played by Parker Bunch in his first villainous role in Tusculum.

Drama and chaos ensue as Oliver is arrested for stealing but is then taken in by the kind hearted Mr. Brownlow, played by Brian Ricker, and his housekeeper, Mrs. Bedwin, played by Amanda Harmon.

Supporting characters include: Dodger’s sidekick, Charlie Bates, played by Zach Wallin and Nancy’s protégé, Bet, played by Jorja Ward, both sixth graders at Greeneville Middle School; Charlotte Sowerberry, played by Greeneville High School freshman Madelynn Wedding; Noah Claypole played by Tusculum sophomore Maxwell Reed; Zach Gass as Dr. Grimwig; and Allison Craft as Old Sally.

The story, full of comedy, drama, suspense and many thrilling moments, features musical numbers “Food, Glorious Food,” “Oliver!,” “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything” and “Who Will Buy?”

The score, which won Lionel Bart the Tony Award for Best Original Score after its Broadway premiere in 1963, is being overseen by longtime Theatre-at-Tusculum Musical Director Angie Clendenon and Accompanist Kasie Shelnutt. Kim Berry is the show’s choreographer.

With set design by Frank Mengel and backdrop by Garry Renfro, audiences will be transported to mid-19th century London, complete with a slew of Victorian costumes carefully curated by Costume Director Erin Schultz, the news release says.

Longtime Theatre-at-Tusculum volunteer Trenda Berney will be the show’s makeup director. Behind-the-scenes action will be organized by Stage Managers Suzanne Greene and Jim Holt.

Theatre-at-Tusculum is under the auspices of Tusculum Arts Outreach, lead by Director Marilyn duBrisk; Assistant Director Brian Ricker; Coordinator Jennifer Hollowell; Technical Director Frank Mengel; and Costume Director Erin Schultz.

It is supported in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Hearts for the Arts and many donors and volunteers.

For information about the show, Theatre-at-Tusculum or other Arts Outreach programs, call 798-1620, visit arts.tusculum.edu or search Facebook for “TC Arts Outreach.”

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