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Oliver!

Oliver! is a British musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. It first appeared in the West End in 1960, and enjoyed a long run which launched the careers of several child actors including Davy Jones. The musical is based upon Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; it was the first such adaptation of a Dickens novel, and this was one of the reasons why it attracted such attention. Another was the revolving stage set, an innovation designed by Sean Kenny[?].

The original London production of Oliver! opened in the New Theatre[?] on June 30, 1960. Among the original cast were Ron Moody as Fagin, Georgia Brown[?] as Nancy, and Barry Humphries[?] in a small role as a humourous undertaker.

A Broadway production opened in the Imperial Theatre[?] on January 6, 1963.

The story of the book is considerably simplified for the purposes of the musical, with Fagin being represented more as a comic character than as a villain, and large portions of the latter part of the story being completely left out. The songs include:

  • "As Long As He Needs Me"
  • "Food, Glorious Food"
  • "Who Will Buy?" (based on the calls of Victorian street-vendors)
  • "You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two"
  • "Where Is Love?"
  • "I'd Do Anything"

In 1968, the musical was made into a film, using some big names who had never appeared in the stage show. It stars Ron Moody, Oliver Reed[?], Harry Secombe, Mark Lester[?], Jack Wild[?], and Hugh Griffith[?]. There was a minor outcry when Shani Wallis[?] was given the role of Nancy in preference to Georgia Brown.

The movie was adapted by Lionel Bart and Vernon Harris[?], and directed by Sir Carol Reed.

It won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director, Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation), Best Picture and Best Sound. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ron Moody), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Wild), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

In 1994, Oliver! was revived for the London stage with some additional music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. It was directed by Sam Mendes, and featured Jonathan Pryce as Fagin, Sally Dexter[?] as Nancy, and Miles Anderson[?] as Sykes.



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