Please Sir, Can We Have Some More?

consider yourself at home with ECCT’s take on Oliver!

Emily Kinzel, photos by Andrea Paulseth

The main cast for the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre’s production of Oliver!
The main cast for the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre’s production of Oliver!

A wildly classic musical dating back to the 1960s, Oliver! will be performed by Eau Claire Children’s Theatre running from April 6-9 at the State Theatre. Harboring the soul of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, this musical is inspired by Cameron Mackintosh’s new London version of the Tony Award-winning musical, translated into Eau Claire’s own local crew of youth actors.

The ECCT tries to invoke the inner actor, singer, or dancer in people of all ages. It’s a nonprofit organization backed by a group of wonderful volunteers with a passion for the theater arts.

“I think everyone likes rags to riches stories. Oliver certainly doesn’t become rich at the end of the show, but you are certain that he has been rescued from a life of crime and poverty with the hope of a new life and opportunities ahead.” – Wayne Marek, Eau Claire Children’s Theatre

This version brings the streets of Victorian England to life as the orphaned Oliver escapes to London and joins Fagin’s band of pickpockets and thieves. The show is filled with memorable songs like “Where is Love?” “Consider Yourself,” “As Long As He Needs Me,” and “Pick a Pocket or Two.”

Oliver’s character has been beloved through generations, as many sympathize with Oliver’s difficult beginnings, having the confidence to ask for more gruel and overcome the difficult hand life dealt him. He falls in with a gang and struggles to overcome his low social state.

“I think everyone likes rags-to-riches stories,” said ECCT Executive Director Wayne Marek. “Oliver certainly doesn’t become rich at the end of the show, but you are certain that he has been rescued from a life of crime and poverty with the hope of a new life and opportunities ahead.” All this is portrayed with the help of a musical score of memorable, hummable songs.

Marek said Oliver! has been produced only twice before in the ECCT’s 28 year history. He said this version of the musical is unique in that it’s the “newest Cameron Mackintosh London version of the show, so it will be a slightly different production than we’re used to, and it’s never been presented in Eau Claire.”

Marek tells audience members to listen for the large chorus numbers – such as “Consider Yourself” – which tend to be everyone’s favorites, as well as several new variants of beloved tunes from the original. Join the “Theatre for All Ages” for a great rendition of the adored musical. Just don’t feel inspired to pick anyone’s pockets on the way out…

The Eau Claire Children’s Theatre presents Oliver! • Apr. 6: 7:30pm, Apr. 7: 7:30pm, Apr. 8: 7:30pm, Apr. 9: 1:30pm • State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St. • Tickets: $8-youth, $12-students, $18-seniors, $22-adults • (715) 839-8877

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