Original theatre programme and poster
Music Lionel Bart
Lyrics Lionel Bart
Book Lionel Bart
Basis Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist
Productions 1960 West End
1962 Broadway
1968 film
1984 Broadway revival
1994 West End revival
2002 Australasian tour
2003 Tallinn
2009 West End revival
Awards Tony Award for Best Original Score

Oliver! is a British musical, with script, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

It premiered in the West End in 1960, enjoying a long run, a successful Broadway production in 1963 and further tours and revivals. It was made into a musical film in 1968. Major London revivals played from 1994-1998 and again from 2008-2011.



Oliver! was the first musical adaptation of a famous Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit. (Besides the fame of Oliver Twist, another reason for the success of the musical was the revolving stage set, designed by Sean Kenny.[1]) There had been two previous Dickens musicals in the 1950s, both of them television adaptations of A Christmas Carol.

The plot of Dickens' original novel 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. (It may well be that Bart based his musical on David Lean's film, rather than Dickens' book.) Although Dickens' novel has been called antisemitic in its portrayal of the Jew Fagin as evil, the production by Bart (himself a Jew) was more sympathetic and featured many Jewish actors in leading roles: Ron Moody (Ronald Moodnik), Georgia Brown (Lilian Klot), and Martin Horsey.[citation needed]


Act I

The musical opens in the workhouse, as the half-starved orphan boys are entering the enormous lunchroom for dinner ("Food Glorious Food"). They are fed only gruel. Nine-year-old Oliver (actually identified as thirteen in the libretto but generally played as much younger) gathers up the courage to ask for more. He is immediately apprehended and is told to gather his belongings by Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, the heartless and greedy caretakers of the workhouse ("Oliver!"). Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney are left alone, and Mr. Bumble begins to make amorous advances. Mrs. Corney pretends to resent his attentions ("I Shall Scream!"), but ends up on Mr. Bumble's lap, kissing him. Oliver comes back and is promptly sold ("Boy for Sale") and apprenticed to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. He and his wife taunt Oliver and Mr. Bumble ("That's Your Funeral"). He is sent to sleep in the basement with the coffins, something which makes him visibly uncomfortable. ("Where is Love?").

The next morning bully Noah Claypole, who oversees Oliver's work, insults Oliver's dead mother, whereupon Oliver begins pummeling him. Mrs. Sowerberry and her daughter, Charlotte run in, and become hysterical. Mr. Bumble is sent for, and he and the Sowerberrys lock Oliver in a coffin, but during all the commotion Oliver escapes. After a week on the run, he meets the Artful Dodger, a boy wearing an oversize coat and a top hat. He beckons Oliver to join him ("Consider Yourself"). Dodger is, unknown to Oliver, a boy pickpocket, and he invites Oliver to come and live in Fagin's lair. Fagin is a criminal, and he is in the business of teaching young boys to pick pockets. Oliver, however, is completely unaware of any criminality, and believes that the boys make handkerchiefs rather than steal them. Oliver is introduced to Fagin and all the other boy pickpockets, and is taught their ways ("You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two").

The next day, Oliver meets Nancy, the live-in girlfriend of the evil, terrifying Bill Sikes, a burglar whose abuse she endures because she loves him. Nancy and Oliver take an instant liking to each other, and Nancy shows motherly affection toward him. Bet, Nancy's younger sister (her best friend in Dickens' novel and the 1968 film), is also with her. Nancy, along with Bet and the boys, sing about how they don't mind a bit of danger ("It's a Fine Life"). Dodger humorously starts pretending to be an upper-class citizen, ("I'd Do Anything"), along with Fagin, Oliver, Nancy, Bet, and the boys mocking high society. Nancy and Bet leave and Oliver is sent out with the other boys on his first pickpocketing job ("Be Back Soon"), though he still believes that they are going to teach him how to make handkerchiefs. Dodger, another boy pickpocket named Charley Bates, and Oliver decide to stick together, and when Dodger and Charley rob Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy old man, they run off, leaving Oliver to be arrested for the crime ("The Robbery").

Act II

The Broadway version of Oliver! at the Imperial Theatre

In the Three Cripples pub, Nancy is called upon to sing an old tavern song ("Oom Pah Pah"). Brutal housebreaker Bill Sikes makes his first appearance, and disperses the crowd, ("My Name"). It emerges that Nancy is in love with him. Dodger runs in and tells Fagin about Oliver being captured before being subsequently cleared of the crime and taken in by Mr. Brownlow. Fagin and Bill decide to kidnap Oliver to protect the whereabouts of their den. Nancy, who pities Oliver, refuses to help, but Bill physically abuses her and forces her into obedience. In spite of this, Nancy still loves Bill, and believes he loves her too ("As Long As He Needs Me").

The next morning, at Mr. Brownlow's house in Bloomsbury, Ms. Bedwin, the housekeeper (who sings in the stage version, but not in the film), sings to Oliver, ("Where Is Love? [Reprise]"), and Oliver wakes up. Mr. Brownlow and Dr. Grimwig discuss Oliver's condition. They come to the conclusion that he is well enough to go outside, and Mr. Brownlow sends Oliver on an errand- he asks him to return some books to the library. From his window, Oliver sees a group of street vendors and joins them in song once he steps outside ("Who Will Buy?"). As the vendors leave, Nancy and Bill show up and grab Oliver. They bring him back to Fagin's den, where Nancy saves Oliver from a beating from Sykes after the boy tries to flee but is stopped. Nancy angrily and remorsefully reviews their dreadful life, but Bill maintains that any living is better than none. Fagin tries to act as an intermediary ("It's A Fine Life [Reprise]"). When Sykes and Nancy leave, Fagin, who also wants out, humorously ponders his future ("Reviewing the Situation"). However, every time he thinks of a good reason for going straight, he reconsiders and decides to remain a criminal.

Back at the workhouse, Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, now unhappily married, meet up with the dying pauper Old Sally and another old lady, who tell them that Oliver's mother, Agnes, left a gold locket (indicating that he comes from a rich family) when she died in childbirth. Old Sally stole the locket and now gives it to the Widow Corney. Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney, realizing that Oliver may have wealthy relatives, visit Mr. Brownlow in order to profit from any reward given out for information of him ("Oliver! [Reprise]"). He throws them out, knowing that they have suppressed evidence until they could get a reward for it. Brownlow looks at the picture inside the locket, a picture of his daughter, and realizes that Oliver, who knows nothing of his family history, is actually his grandson (Oliver's mother had disappeared after having been left pregnant by her lover, who jilted her).

Nancy, terrified for Oliver and feeling guilty, visits Brownlow and promises to deliver Oliver to him safely that night at midnight on London Bridge - if Brownlow does not bring the police or ask any questions. She then ponders again about Bill ("As Long As He Needs Me [Reprise]"). Bill suspects that Nancy is up to something. That night, he follows her as she sneaks Oliver out, although in the stage version it is never made clear how he knew exactly when to do this. At London Bridge, he confronts them, knocks Oliver temporarily unconscious, and brutally clubs Nancy to death (in alternative stagings of the show, he either strangles her, stabs her, or slits her throat, but the musical's original libretto follows the Dickens novel in having her beaten to death). He then grabs Oliver, who has since revived, and runs offstage with him, presumably back to the hideout to ask Fagin for getaway money. Mr. Brownlow, who had been late keeping the appointment, arrives and discovers Nancy's body. A large crowd soon forms, among them the distraught Bet. Bullseye, Bill's fierce terrier, returns to the scene of the crime and the crowd prepares to follow him to the hideout. After they exit Fagin and his boys, terrified at the idea of being apprehended, leave their hideout in panic. Not finding Bill at the hideout, the anxious crowd, now whipped up into a thirst for justice, returns to the Thames Embankment, when suddenly Bill appears at the top of the bridge, holding Oliver as hostage and threatening to kill him if the crowd tries to take him. Unseen by Bill, two policemen sneak up on him. One of them fatally shoots Bill and the other grabs Oliver as Bill releases him. Oliver is then reunited with Mr. Brownlow. The mob, still eager for vengeance against this underground criminal network, begins a mad search for Fagin. When one of the members of the crowd suggest that he may be at the Three Cripples pub, they disperse offstage in order to track him down. As the crowd exits, Fagin sneaks on and decides that, after years of pickpocketing and training junior pickpocketers, the time has never looked better for him to straighten out his life.


Act I
  • Prologue/Overture - Orchestra
  • Food, Glorious Food - Orphans
  • Oliver! - Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney
  • I Shall Scream - Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney
  • Boy for Sale - Mr. Bumble
  • That's Your Funeral - Mr. Sowerberry, Mrs. Sowerberry, and Mr. Bumble
  • Coffin Music - Orchestra
  • Where Is Love? - Oliver
  • Oliver's Escape - Orchestra
  • Consider Yourself - The Artful Dodger, Oliver, and Chorus
  • You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two - Fagin and Fagin's Gang
  • Rum Tum Tum - Fagin
  • It's a Fine Life - Nancy, Bet, and Fagin's Gang
  • I'd Do Anything - The Artful Dodger, Nancy, Oliver, Bet, Fagin, and Fagin's Gang
  • Be Back Soon - Fagin, The Artful Dodger, Oliver and Fagin's Gang
  • The Robbery - Orchestra
Act II
  • Entr'acte - Orchestra
  • Oom-Pah-Pah - Nancy and Chorus
  • My Name - Bill Sikes
  • As Long as He Needs Me - Nancy
  • Where Is Love? (Reprise) - Mrs. Bedwin
  • Who Will Buy? - Oliver, Sellers, and Chorus
  • It's a Fine Life (Reprise) - Bill Sikes, Nancy, Fagin, and The Artful Dodger
  • Reviewing the Situation - Fagin
  • Oliver! (Reprise) - Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney
  • As Long As He Needs Me (Reprise) - Nancy
  • London Bridge/Chase/Death of Bill Sikes - Orchestra
  • Reviewing the Situation (Reprise) - Fagin
  • Finale (Food, Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, and I'd Do Anything) - Company


Original London production

Oliver! premiered in the West End at the New Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on June 30, 1960 and ran for 2,618 performances.[2] Directed by Peter Coe, the choreographer was Malcolm Clare and costumes and scenery were by Sean Kenny. The original cast featured Ron Moody as Fagin, Georgia Brown as Nancy, and Barry Humphries in a small comic role as Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker. Keith Hamshere (the original Oliver) is now a Hollywood still photographer (Star Wars etc.); Martin Horsey (the original Dodger) works as an actor/director and is the author of the play L'Chaim. The cast also included Tony Robinson as one of the Workhouse boys/Fagin's Gang, and John Bluthal (now best known as The Vicar of Dibley's Frank Pickle) as Fagin. Former professional boxer Danny Sewell ( brother of television actor George Sewell ) was the original Bill Sikes, and remained in the role ( including the original Broadway & US touring productions ) for the best part of six years. Danny Sewell's main competitor at audition for the role of Sikes was Michael Caine, who later stated he "cried for a week" after failing to secure the part.

The part of Nancy was originally written for Alma Cogan, who despite being unable to commit to the production, steered a great many producers to invest in it.[citation needed]

Original Broadway production

The musical previewed in the U.S. with a 1962 national tour (whose cast was preserved on recording). The musical premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on January 6, 1963 and closed on November 14, 1964 after 774 performances.[3] The cast featured child actor Bruce Prochnik in the title role alongside Georgia Brown, reprising her West End role as Nancy, and Clive Revill, replacing Ron Moody, as Fagin. While the national tour had young actor Michael Goodman as The Artful Dodger, in the Broadway transfer he was replaced by a young Davy Jones (who would appear in the role on The Ed Sullivan Show the night of The Beatles first appearance). The Broadway production was a critical success and received ten Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical. It won the awards for Best Scenic Design, Best Original Score and Best Music Direction. The Broadway production was revived shortly after the original production closed. The revival opened in 1965 and was directed by Peter Coe. It ran at the Martin Beck Theatre for 64 performances. It featured Victor Stiles as Oliver, Robin Ramsay as Fagin, Maura K. Wedge as Nancy, Joey Baio as The Artful Dodger, Dominic Chianese as Mr. Sowerberry, Alan Crofoot as Mr. Bumble, Danny Sewell as Bill Sikes, Bram Nossen as Mr. Brownlow, and Dodi Protero as Mrs. Bedwin.

1977 London revival

Cameron Mackintosh revived Oliver! in London for the first time in 1977. It played at the Albery Theatre (the renamed New Theatre; now the Noel Coward Theatre), starring Roy Hudd as Fagin, which ran for over two years. This production was totally faithful to the 1960 original version, using Sean Kenny's set. Indeed, the original production's sepia background painted on the rear stage wall was still extant.

1983 London and Broadway revivals

Mackintosh was asked to revive the show yet again in 1983 for a limited five-week Christmas season at the Aldwych Theatre, directed by Peter Coe. Ron Moody returned as Fagin, with Jackie Marks as Nancy, Linal Haft as Bill Sikes, Meg Johnson as Mrs Corney, Peter Bayliss as Mr Bumble, and Geoffrey Toone as Mr Brownlow. Oliver was played by Anthony Pearson, and the Artful Dodger by David Garlick. The original Sean Kenny sets were used. The last professional production to use Sean Kenny's original stage design was at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, Essex, in 1986. This production starred Victor Spinetti as Fagin.

The 1983 London revival of Oliver! transferred to Broadway in 1984. It opened at The Mark Hellinger Theater and ran from April 29, 1984 through May 13, 1984, for 17 performances and 13 previews. Ron Moody reprised the role of Fagin and Patti LuPone played Nancy. David Garlick reprised his West End performance as The Artful Dodger, the first British youngster to appear on Broadway since Davy Jones, creating the Equity Exchange Program in the process. The original creative staff were used for this production, including director Peter Coe.

LuPone, in her memoirs, said that the production should have run longer, noting that this production utilized the original sets, costumes, blocking (staging), and direction, and commented: "Hmm...maybe 'that' was the problem".[4] Moody was nominated for a Tony Award despite the short run. The show only received one negative review; it was from Frank Rich of the New York Times, who called the production "likely to hold the attention of only the youngest and most obedient children" and "just dull."[5] It prompted one of the main backers to pull out. The positive reviews were quoted in the ad for the show, including a Clive Barnes quote: "'Oliver!' Is glorious food for Broadway".[6]

LuPone had asked the show's Musical Director to change her keys because they were too low for her, but was told she could not. She wrote that she "had major battles with the musical director", one concerning the term "vamp"; "he never waited for me to finish my dialogue."[4]

1994 London revival

Cameron Mackintosh produced another revival of the show which opened at the London Palladium in the West End on December 8, 1994. The production team included a young Sam Mendes as director, with Anthony Ward as designer, Matthew Bourne as choreographer, Martin Koch as music supervisor and William David Brohn as orchestrator. The cast included Jonathan Pryce (after much persuasion) as Fagin, Sally Dexter as Nancy, Miles Anderson as Bill Sikes, James Villiers as Mr. Brownlow, James Saxon as Mr. Bumble, Jenny Galloway as Widow Corney, David Delve as Mr. Sowerberry and Julia Deakin as Mrs. Sowerberry. The role of Oliver was played by numerous child actors during the run of four years, including Gregory Bradley, James Daley, Andrew James Michel, Jon Lee and Tom Fletcher, while the Artful Dodger was played by Adam Searles, Paul Bailey and Bronson Webb. The role of Bet was played by Danielle McCormack, Rosalind James and Francesca Jackson.[7] The musical closed on February 21, 1998.[8]The role of Fagin was later played by many notable British actors and comedians including George Layton, Russ Abbot, Jim Dale and Robert Lindsay (who won an Olivier Award for his performance in 1997). Bill Sikes was later portrayed by Steven Hartley and Joe McGann, and Nancy by Sonia Swaby, Claire Moore and Ruthie Henshall.

The show was a lavish affair and moved from its original intimate melodramatic feel to a more cinematic and symphonic feel that would accommodate an audience familiar with the 1968 motion picture. This production featured brand new music and lyrics written by Lionel Bart, and also additional dialogue not featured in the original script, added by Bart and Sam Mendes. Other updated elements include the addition of a prologue, in which the audience is witness to Oliver’s harrowing birth. The dialogue was homage to both the 1948 and 1968 film versions of the story which were in turn based on the original novel. New music arrangements and dance sequences were added to various songs, most notably "Consider Yourself" and "Who Will Buy?". Tempos for some of the musical numbers were altered (notably "It's a Fine Life", "I'd Do Anything" and "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two"), while other incidental numbers were drastically rewritten, including the London Bridge chase sequence. Interestingly, a new intermediate scene was added just after "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two", in which Bill Sikes enters the Thieves’ Kitchen and “negotiates” with Fagin.

2009 London revival

Oliver! bill board at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2009.

A production heavily based upon the 1994 Palladium production opened in London’s West End on 14 January 2009. Produced once again by Cameron Mackintosh, this revival was directed by Shakespeare expert Rupert Goold and choreographed/co-directed by Matthew Bourne. Anthony Ward repeated his acclaimed scenic and costume designs while William David Brohn joined the team as orchestrator, revising some of the musical arrangements. The new production opened to rave reviews at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, receiving positive feedback from critics throughout London.[citation needed] Designer Anthony Ward created a new cobblestone effect for the entire stage while the orchestrations were expanded with new dance arrangements given to Consider Yourself and Who Will Buy? as well as new curtain call/exit music. The prologue from the Palladium production was removed, and the show now opens as it originally did in 1960, with the workhouse children entering, singing Food Glorious Food.

British comedian Rowan Atkinson played Fagin. He had played the role in a school production but had turned it down in the Palladium revival. Burn Gorman played Bill Sikes, making his West End musical debut. The leading roles of Nancy and Oliver were cast via the BBC reality television show series I'd Do Anything. Three actors shared the role of Oliver: Laurence Jeffcoate, Harry Stott and Gwion Wyn Jones. Jodie Prenger won the role of Nancy, shared with Australian Tamsin Carroll, who played two performances each week. Sarah Lark, a runner-up on I’d do Anything understudied the role. Royal Shakespeare Company actor Julian Glover played Mr. Brownlow with Julian Bleach as Mr. Sowerberry, Louise Gold as Mrs. Sowerberry, Julius D’Silva as Mr. Bumble and Wendy Ferguson as Widow Corney. The revival was nominated for three 2010 Olivier Awards: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Atkinson) and Best Theatre Choreography, but failed to win any. It did, however, win three 2010 Theatregoers’ Choice Awards (whatsonstage.com) for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Atkinson) and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Prenger) as well as nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Gorman) and Best Takeover Role in a Musical (Djalili).

When Rowan Atkinson fell ill in April 2009, Russ Abbot stepped in to the play the role.[9] Abbot had starred in the 1997 Palladium run. In July 2009, British comedian Omid Djalili replaced him as Fagin,[10] receiving positive reviews. In December 2009, Griff Rhys Jones took over as Fagin, with Steven Hartley as Bill Sikes.[11] Hartley had played Sikes in the 1997 Palladium production. In March 2010, Kerry Ellis took over the role of Nancy, also receiving positive reviews.[12] At the same time, Bleach, D’Silva and Ferguson were replaced by Jason Morell, Christian Patterson and Claire Machin, respectively. In June 2010, Russ Abbot took over as Fagan. Stephen Moore was a replacement for Mr. Brownlow. Ron Moody, the original Fagin, joined the cast at the end of the performance on June 14, 2010, in celebration of the show's 50th Anniversary. Griff Rhys Jones returned as Fagin in December 2010.

The production closed on January 8, 2011, to be replaced at the theatre by the original London production of Shrek the Musical.[13]

2011 UK Tour

It has been announced that the 2009 London revival produced by Mackintosh, which closed in January 2011, will embark on a national tour of the UK. With a brand new set and brand new direction, it will star Neil Morrissey and Brian Conley who will share the role of Fagin, with Samantha Barks as Nancy for the first six months (Samantha came third in reality TV show I'd Do Anything, which was won by Jodie Prenger.) It is unconfirmed as to who will be taking over the role of Nancy after this time. Recent rumours include Jodie Prenger and Ashleigh Gray. The tour is confirmed to be playing 11 venues throughout 2011-13, starting at the Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff from 10th December 2011.

International productions

In 1983, a new production of Oliver was the first musical produced by Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre as part of its inaugural season as a self-producing theatre.

The Australian tour was a successful trip through Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore from 2002 to 2004. The show, which mirrored Sam Mendes' production, was recreated by Graham Gill. John Waters (the actor, not to be confused with John Waters, the director) portrayed Fagin, Tamsin Carroll was Nancy, and the production also featured Stuart Wagstaff, Steve Bastoni and Madison Orr and Keegan Joyce in the title role, which was rotated between the two. The role of the Artful Dodger was shared between Matthew Waters and Tim Matthews.

A North American tour began in 2003, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Networks. It ran till March 2005 and played most major theatrical venues in the U.S. and one in Canada. The show was directed by the London team which managed the Sam Mendes version in London and the Australian tour, with Graham Gill as director.[14] The cast included Mark McCracken as Fagin, Renata Renee Wilson as Nancy, and Justin S. Pereira Oliver Twist.[15] In October 2008 Columbia Artists Theatricals mounted a new North American National tour directed by Clayton Philips. The production toured until March 2009.

The first Estonian production of the show was presented in the early 1990s in Tartu. A revival ran in November–December 2003 with Aivar Tommingas as Fagin and Evelin Samuel as Nancy. The musical was performed also twice in Israel in 1966 and 2008 starring Shraga Fridman and Rivka Raz in the first production and Sasson Gabai and Anya Bukshtein in the second. In December 2010 a Dutch language version of the musical opened in Gent, Belgium, to be transferred at the end of the same month to Antwerp. In 2011 a Syrian production is to be performed at the Damascus Opera.

Principal characters

  • Oliver Twist, the protagonist of the story. He is a lonely orphan boy born in the workhouse.
  • Fagin, a conniving career criminal, takes in homeless boys and teaches them to pick pockets for him.
  • Nancy, Bill Sikes's lover. She takes a liking to Oliver and treats him like her own child, but is eventually murdered for the steps she takes in behalf of him.
  • Mr. Brownlow, Oliver's grandfather, a kind man of wealth and breeding.
  • Bill Sikes, Nancy's brutal and abusive lover, a burglar and her eventual murderer.
  • Mr. Bumble, the pompous beadle of the workhouse in which Oliver was born.
  • The Artful Dodger, the cleverest of Fagin's pickpockets, he introduces Fagin to Oliver.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry, the insensitive couple who take in Oliver and use him in their funeral business.
  • Mrs. Corney, the matron of the workhouse where Oliver was born, later marries Mr. Bumble.
  • Charlotte Sowerberry, the rude but also flirtatious daughter of the Sowerberrys.
  • Noah Claypole, The Sowerberrys' apprentice, he bullies Oliver about his mother and enjoys a flirty relationship with Charlotte.
  • Bet, Nancy's friend [or younger sister, in some productions], one of Fagin's former pickpockets.
  • Charley Bates, one of Fagin's pickpockets. He is Dodger's sidekick.
  • Mrs. Bedwin, house-servant to Mr. Brownlow and caretaker of Oliver.

Film Adaptation

In 1968, the show was adapted for film, with a screenplay by Vernon Harris and direction by Carol Reed. It starred original Fagin Ron Moody with Jack Wild, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Mark Lester and Harry Secombe. The 1968 motion picture won six Academy Awards including Best Picture, and received nominations for both Moody and Wild. It was first telecast by ABC-TV in 1975. The film went to cable in 1982, and it is still regularly telecast, though now on cable.


The score of Oliver! has been recorded numerous times. There are cast recordings (on compact disc) available for the original 1960 and 1963 productions as well as the 1968 film and the 1994 and 2009 London revivals. The 2009 London cast album was recorded live on opening night.

There are several studio cast recordings of the show including one with Stanley Holloway and Alma Cogan and another with Josephine Barstow and Julian Forsyth. A new version with Julian Forsyth was issued recently, and Sally Ann Triplett replacing Barstow.

Stage casts

The following table gives the principal casting information for the major productions (both original and revival) of Oliver!.

Productions Fagin Nancy Bill Sikes Oliver Artful Dodger
1960 Original London Ron Moody Georgia Brown Danny Sewell Keith Hamshere Martin Horsey
1963 Original Broadway Clive Revill Georgia Brown Danny Sewell Bruce Prochnik Davy Jones
1968 Film Ron Moody Shani Wallis Oliver Reed Mark Lester Jack Wild
1983 London Revival Ron Moody Jackie Marks Linal Haft Anthony Pearson David Garlick
1984 Broadway Revival Ron Moody Patti LuPone Graeme Campbell Braden Danner David Garlick
1994 London Revival Jonathan Pryce Sally Dexter Miles Anderson James Daley Adam Searles
2009 London Revival Rowan Atkinson Jodie Prenger Burn Gorman Harry Stott Ross McCormack
2011 UK Tour Revival Neil Morrissey Samantha Barks Iain Fletcher Gwion Jones Joseph Potter

Note: in the case of the 1994 and 2009 London revivals, the casting information above gives only the Oliver and Artful Dodger who performed on opening night. There were two actors playing Oliver and the Artful Dodger during the 1994 Palladium run, and three to four playing the roles for the 2009 Drury Lane run.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1963 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Clive Revill Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Georgia Brown Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical David Jones Nominated
Best Original Score Lionel Bart Won
Best Producer of a Musical David Merrick and Donald Albery Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Peter Coe Nominated
Best Conductor and Musical Director Donald Pippin Won
Best Scenic Design Sean Kenny Won
1984 Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Ron Moody Nominated
1995 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Director Sam Mendes Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Jonathan Pryce Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Sally Dexter Nominated
1997 Best Actor in a Musical Robert Lindsay Won
2010 Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Rowan Atkinson Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Matthew Bourne Nominated
WhatsOnStage.com Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Rowan Atkinson Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Jodie Prenger Won
2011 Best Takeover in a Role Kerry Ellis Nominated


Dodger!, a sequel to Lionel Bart's Oliver! was composed by Andrew Fletcher with the book and lyrics written by David Lambert. It is set seven years after the events in the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens where the Artful Dodger has been sentenced to an Australian penal colony and has a romantic involvement with the character Bet.[16]

References and notes

  1. ^ Kenny, Sean. "Designing Oliver", The Strand Archive, 18, ii, 7 September 1960, pp. 6–12. The edition also contains articles by the lighting engineer, John Wyckham (pp. 12–16), and by K. R. Ackerman (pp. 17–18).
  2. ^ "'Oliver!' listing" guidetomusicaltheatre.com
  3. ^ Oliver! at the Internet Broadway Database The First Broadway production
  4. ^ a b LuPone, Patti. "Chapter: A Working Actor, Part 1" Patti LuPone: A Memoir, Random House, Inc., 2010, ISBN 0307460738, pp.154-155
  5. ^ Rich, Frank. Review Moody in 'Oliver!' Revival", The New York Times, April 30, 1984, p. C11
  6. ^ "Ad for 'Oliver!'", The New York Times, May 13, 1984, p. A13
  7. ^ Wolf, Matt."Review: 'Oliver!'"Variety, December 12, 1994
  8. ^ "'Oliver!' listing, 1994-1998" thisistheatre.com, retrieved May 28, 2010
  9. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Stepping in for Ailing Atkinson, Abbot Will Play Fagin in London Oliver!" Playbill.com, April 3, 2009
  10. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Djalili Succeeds Atkinson as Fagin in London's Oliver! Beginning July 20". Playbill.com, July 20, 2009
  11. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Griff Rhys Jones Begins Performances as Fagin in West End's Oliver! Dec. 14". Playbill.com, December 14, 2009
  12. ^ Kerry Ellis Gives Oliver! New Oom-pah-pah". Whatsonstage.com, March 30, 2010
  13. ^ Shrek the Musical to Open at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 2011 playbill.com
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Nearly NYC: Mackintosh's Oliver! Tour Plays Newark's Prudential Hall March 30-April 4" (partial reference), playbill.com, March 30, 2004
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Non-Equity Oliver!, Inspired by Mackintosh Revisal in London, Starts U.S. Tour Nov. 11", playbill.com, November 11, 2003
  16. ^ BBC Norfolk review of Dodger!

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