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Heart of Dickens Revealed This Summer in Lyric's New Production of "Oliver!"
By Tourism Industry Partner
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Lyric Theatre is bringing this timeless classic to the Civic Center stage on June 21st through 25th. Lyric’s production of Oliver! reveals the honest emotions of Dickens tale through moving songs, rousing dance numbers, and dark humor.
Based on the Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist, this musical adaptation about a 10-year-old orphan boy who runs away from an orphanage and joins up with a group of young pickpockets, will charm Lyric audiences in the summer of 2011. This new production combines heartbreak and triumph, while delighting audiences with outstanding musical theatre gems like “Food, Glorious Food.” “I’d Do Anything,” “Where is Love?” “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two,” “It’s a Fine Life” and “As Long As He Needs Me.”
This classic musical is under the direction of Lyric’s own Artistic Director, Michael Baron. Baron, director of Lyric’s past 2010 productions of The Rocky Horror Show and December Divas as well as Lyric’s 2011 Season shows, Always…Patsy Cline and Boeing Boeing, is very excited to bring this family favorite show to the Civic stage.
Lyric’s production of Oliver! will also highlight the kids of Lyric Theatre’s Thelma Gaylord Academy. Sixty Academy kids will participate in Lyric’s “Camp Oliver” two weeks before the show opens at the Civic Center. Going against Lyric Theatre’s past cheerful and light Oliver! productions, this adaptation of the classic musical tale mirrors the lives of the desperate characters in Dickens’ novel.
“With the scenic, costume, and lighting designers, I am approaching this new production of Oliver! by evoking the spirit and somewhat-cruel time period of Charles Dickens’ ever-changing London, filled with oppressive workhouses, jovial pubs, bustling marketplaces, and shady characters,” says Baron. “Even though the story reveals the dark underbelly of Victorian city life, there is also a strong sense of hope for a brighter future and a message of love.”
Lyric Theatre’s production of Oliver! celebrates the young stars of Lyric’s Thelma Gaylord Academy. Sam Brown, playing Oliver, is making his Lyric debut this summer in Oliver! this summer at the Civic Center. Brown, an 11-year-old student from Edmond, Oklahoma, developed an interest in theater in kindergarten when he was cast in a junior production of Honk!.
"I've been watching shows on the Civic Center stage since I was 3-years-old," said Brown. "Having the chance to play Oliver on that same stage this summer is really exciting to me!"
Playing alongside Brown this summer as the Artful Dodger, is Oklahoma City’s own Campbell Walker Fields. Walker Fields, a fifth grade student at Sequoyah Elementary School, is returning to the Civic Center stage in his professional debut, having enjoyed Camp Joseph two summers ago. He recently originated the role of Howard The Hunter in the Thelma Gaylord Academy production of Little Red and is heard on the cast recording.
Joining Brown and Walker Fields this summer in Oliver! are two Broadway actors whose credits will excite Lyric audiences. Dirk Lumbard, who played Boris in Lyric Theatre’s 2010 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is thrilled to be back at Lyric Theatre this summer as the infamous pick-pocket, Fagin. Lumbard’s Broadway credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Music Man, Imaginary Friends, On Your Toes, Barnum and Sugar Babies.
“I'm so thrilled to come back and to be part of the Lyric Theatre family,” says Lumbard. “Lyric produces first rate productions done with a first rate cast and crew and the people of Oklahoma City are always welcoming and have a genuine love of the theatre that I love to see.”
From Washington, DC, Eleasha Gamble, makes her Lyric Theatre debut playing Nancy in Oliver!. Eleasha was awarded her first Helen Hayes award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, for her performance in Civil War at Ford's Theatre. Gamble’s credits include, Signature Theatre’s Chess, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, First You Dream and Urinetown as well as Ford's Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors and A Christmas Carol.
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is partnering with the Metropolitan Library System to host a panel event on June 11th at 10:00 a.m. This event, taking place at the downtown Library, is a family friendly panel that includes discussions on bringing this work to the stage, the world of Dickens, and homeless youth in Oklahoma City today. Panelist include Marc DiPaolo, Oklahoma City University’s Professor on English and Film; Maureen Kelly, Community Outreach Director at Youth Services for Oklahoma County, Inc. and Director of the Supporting Kids in Independent Living program; Clarissa Betts, Dramaturg for Lyric’s Oliver!; and Eleasha Gamble, actress portraying Nancy in Lyric’s Oliver!.
Lyric’s 2011 Season Title Sponsor is Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Presenting Sponsor is The Oklahoman. Oliver! is sponsored by AT&T, Coppermark Bank and W&W Steel. Additional season support provided by American Airlines, Kirkpatrick Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Allied Arts, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performances for Oliver! are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. To purchase tickets go to www.lyrictheatreokc.com, call (405) 524-9312, come by Lyric Theatre’s ticket office located on 1727 NW 16 St., Oklahoma City, Okla, or call the Civic Center Box office at (405) 297-2264 or 1-800-364-7111.
Lyric will continue to produce its 2011 Season at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City with Hairspray, Ragtime and A Chorus Line, and finish up back at the Plaza Theater with Altar Boyz and Lyric’s A Christmas Carol presented by Devon Energy.
If you would like more information about this performance, to acquire publicity photos or to schedule an interview, please email Cristen Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cristen at (405) 524-9310.
Public Relations Manager
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Inc.
1727 NW 16th Street OKC
Phone: (405) 524-9310
Fax: (405) 524-9316
The Rest Of Our 2011 Season
Hairspray July 5-9, 2011
Ragtime July 19-23, 2011
A Chorus Line August 2-6, 2011
Altar Boyz October 12-22, 2011
A Christmas Carol December 9-31, 2011