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'Oliver' comes to Mont Harmon stage

Oliver can be an engaging and delightful musical experience.

The Castle Valley Community Theater is bringing a large cast musical to the stage once again in the form of Lionel Bart's Oliver.

Tonight the curtain goes up for eight performances, which will also include March 17, 18, 20, 23-25 and 27 on the stage at Mont Harmon Junior High.

Over one hundred local singers, dancers, actors and technicians bring life to the well known story of Oliver Twist�the hapless orphan�who falls in with thieves and pickpockets to stay alive in a dreary London of times past.

"This has got to be one of the most talented casts with whom we have had the pleasure of working." Musical director Gail Scoville stated. "Every show brings new people out who want a chance to play on the stage with us. Our Oliver is the fresh, young musical talent, Giovanna Chiara. And the music is so wonderfully singable and memorable."

Set designer Jeff Richens adds that some special provisions had to be made for the players.

"Because this cast is so large, the stage at Mont Harmon has been expanded out into the audience, bringing the action on stage much closer," he said. "Once again we have tried several new technical aspects to maximize the playing space".

There are dark moments in this show, and some violence -- a reflection of the hardships of life for the downtrodden of society, but comic relief comes in the form of Fagin, imaginatively played by Troy Hunt, Bumble charmingly portrayed by Jim Thompson, Widow Corney by Kris Guthrie and the gamine Artful Dodger is played by Luke Prince. Christian Smith is Nancy, the doxy with a heart who risks all to save the child Oliver. The villain, Bill Sykes is painted with dark, rumbling strokes by Spencer Johnson.

"We hope audiences will find much to discuss after the show," stated CVCT president and show producer, Sherrie Vlamakis. "It is our belief that good theater should present people with the opportunity to examine their beliefs about many different issues. Oliver is just such a show. Themes about social ills like domestic violence, slavery and the importance of hope in everyone's life can be found."

Artistic director, Madelaine Nyffeler added that the play is very complicated entertainment.

" This play appeals on many levels," she said. "If you just want to be entertained, this is good family entertainment. If you look for more than mere entertainment value in your theater experiences, we hope we have provided more than a few metaphors to puzzle over. Oliver is close to my heart as it was my first on- stage experience with CVCT many years ago. It is like re-visiting an old friend."

Based on the Dickens novel, Oliver can be engaging with its pathos and drama. It can also be delightful with its outstanding musical numbers such as Food, Glorious Food, I'd Do Anything, Where is Love? Consider Yourself, As Long as He Needs Me, Who will Buy and Reviewing the Situation. Tickets are can be purchased at the door. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.

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