PLYMOUTH — The award-winning Educational Theatre Collaborative (ETC) will present Oliver! January 22-26 at Plymouth State University's Silver Center for the Arts on Main Street in Plymouth. This year marks the 20th anniversary of intergenerational productions by ETC.
Performances are January 22-25 at 7 p.m. and January 25 and 26 at 2 p.m. at the Silver Center.
In honor of the anniversary, opening night of the production will feature a Gala Celebration beginning at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, January 22 at the Silver Center. The gathering will include live music, appetizers and beverages, and a photo retrospective. Special pre-performance presentations at 7 p.m. will include a dedication of the anniversary performance to ETC co-founder Dan Perkins and his family. Perkins is professor of music and director of choral activities at Plymouth State University.
Tickets for the Gala, including a ticket to the opening night performance, are $30-35 for adults, $25-20 for seniors and youth in A and B seating.
Oliver! is an exciting musical theatre adaptation of Charles Dickens' story of an orphan who runs away from the workhouse and ends up in London with a group of pickpockets and their leader Fagin. After a series of misadventures, young Oliver finally finds the love he is searching for and all is well. The familiar songs ("Food, Glorious Food," "Where is Love," "Consider Yourself One of the Family," "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two") and cast of colorful characters including Oliver, Nancy, Mr. Bumble, Fagin, the Artful Dodger and the evil Bill Sykes will engage your spirit and warm your heart.
ETC artistic director Trish Lindberg says Oliver! is a classic story and a wonderful vehicle for an intergenerational cast (this year 113 performers), that provides numerous opportunities for young performers. She says, "I think that the most important theme in this musical is the search for love. Oliver is looking for it ... so are Nancy and Fagin. Finding someone to love is such an important force in our lives. Oliver's journey is very satisfying because we see love triumph over evil."
The cast includes Catriona Stewart, a sixth grader at Holderness Central School in the role of Oliver. This will be her third ETC performance. The Artful Dodger will be portrayed by Sam St. Jean, a junior PSU theatre arts major from Goffstown, who most recently performed in the PSU production of Les Miserables as Enrolras. Robb Dimmick, a professional actor, director and playwright with an M.Ed. in integrated arts from PSU will perform the role of Fagin, which he also performed in ETC's first production of Oliver! 15 years ago.
Nancy will be portrayed by PSU theatre alumna Melissa Furbish who sings in a local band in addition to being a mother and wife. This is Melissa's third performance with ETC. PSU alumnus and TIGER theatre company-regular Chris Gonzalez of Meredith will perform the role of Bill Sykes. Campton Elementary School K-8 music teacher A.J. Coppola will perform the role of Mr. Bumble along side 12 of his students who are in the show. Each of these actors appeared in last year's award-winning ETC production, Marking the Moment, which celebrated the 250th anniversary of the town of Plymouth and earned the was named the 2013 overall winner of the Moss Hart Memorial Award by the New England Theatre Conference.
Children and families will be able to meet some of the characters from Oliver! at a Character Lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, January 25, at the Common Man Inn in Plymouth. The buffet lunch will include sandwiches, salads, and kid friendly foods at a cost of $8 for children 12 and under; $12 for adults.
Tickets for non-opening night performances are $27-22 for adults and $22-17 for seniors and youth in A & B seating. All tickets are available at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.