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Original theatre programme and poster
MusicLionel Bart
LyricsLionel Bart
BookLionel Bart
BasisOliver Twist
by Charles Dickens

AwardsTony Award for Best Original Score

Oliver! is a stage musical, with book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the 1838 novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

It premiered at the Wimbledon Theatre, southwest London in 1960 before opening in the West End, where it enjoyed a record-breaking long run. Oliver! ran on Broadway, after being brought to the U.S. by producer David Merrick in 1963. Major London revivals played from 1977 to 1980, 1994 to 1998, 2008 to 2011 and on tour in the UK from 2011 to 2013. Additionally, its 1968 film adaptation, directed by Carol Reed, won six Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Oliver! received thousands of performances in British schools, becoming one of the most popular school musicals.[1] In 1963 Lionel Bart received the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Many songs are well known to the public, such as "Food, Glorious Food", "Consider Yourself" and "I'd Do Anything".[2]


Oliver! was the first musical adaptation of a famous Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit. There had been two previous Dickens musicals in the 1950s, both of them television adaptations of A Christmas Carol. The plot of Dickens's 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. Although Dickens's novel has been called antisemitic in its portrayal of the Jewish Fagin as evil, the production by Bart (himself Jewish) was more sympathetic and featured many Jewish actors in leading roles: Ron Moody (Ronald Moodnick), Georgia Brown (Lilian Klot), and Martin Horsey.[3]


Act I

The musical opens in the workhouse, as the half-starved orphan boys are entering the enormous dining hall for supper. They are fed only gruel, but find some solace by imagining a richer menu ("Food Glorious Food"). Oliver gathers up the courage to ask for more, and is immediately apprehended by parish beadle 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 ("I Shall Scream!"). Mrs. Corney pretends to resent his attentions, but ends up on Mr. Bumble's lap, as he eventually proposes to her. Mr. Bumble then takes Oliver and sells him as an apprentice to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry ("Boy for Sale"). Mr. Sowerberry and his wife taunt Oliver and Mr. Bumble ("That's Your Funeral"), causing Mr. Bumble to become angry and storm out. Oliver is sent to sleep in the basement with the coffins ("Where Is Love?").

The next morning, Noah Claypole, another employee of Mr. Sowerberry, insults Oliver's dead mother, whereupon Oliver begins pummeling him. Mrs. Sowerberry and her daughter, Charlotte, who is also Noah's girlfriend, run in. The three lock Oliver inside a coffin, and Mr. Bumble is sent for. The entrance of an intoxicated Mr. Sowerberry doesn't aid matters, and during all the commotion Oliver escapes. After a week on the run, he ends up in the city of London and meets a boy about 16 years old known as the Artful Dodger. Dodger seems a kindly boy, and welcomes Oliver to join him and his friends ("Consider Yourself"). Dodger is, unknown to Oliver, a pickpocket, and invites Oliver to come and live in Fagin's lair. Fagin is a veteran criminal "fence" who sends out young boys as pickpockets. Oliver is completely unaware of any criminality and believes that the boys make handkerchiefs rather than steal them. Oliver is introduced to Fagin and his boys and taught their ways ("You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two").

The next day, Oliver meets Nancy, an older member of Fagin's gang and the girlfriend of Fagin's terrifying associate Bill Sikes, a brutal house-burglar whose abuse she endures because she loves him. Nancy, along with her good friend Bet and the boys sing about how they mostly like their unconventional if dangerous lifestyle ("It's a Fine Life"). Oliver bows deeply to Nancy and Bet, trying to be polite. All the boys laugh and mimic Oliver. Nancy singles out Dodger to demonstrate the way the rich people treat each other ("I'd Do Anything"). Nancy and Bet leave, and Oliver is sent out with the other boys on his first pickpocketing job ("Be Back Soon"). Fagin tells Oliver to go with Dodger and another boy named Charley Bates, but when Dodger and Charley steal a handkerchief from Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy old man, they run off, leaving the horrified 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, at the request of boisterous customers, Nancy strikes up an old tavern song with the low-life ruffians, ("Oom-Pah-Pah"). Bill Sikes makes his first appearance and disperses the crowd ("My Name"). Dodger runs in and tells Fagin about Oliver's capture and removal to the Brownlow household. Worried that Oliver will "blow upon them" (i.e. betray the gang to the authorities), Fagin and Bill decide to abduct Oliver and bring him back to the den, with Nancy's help. Nancy, who has come to care for Oliver, at first 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, Mrs. Bedwin, the housekeeper, sings to Oliver ("Where Is Love? [Reprise]"), and Oliver wakes up as street-sellers begin their day's work outside ("Who Will Buy?"). Mr. Brownlow and Dr. Grimwig decide that Oliver is well enough to go outside, so Brownlow sends Oliver to return some books to the bookseller. Oliver sees a group of street vendors and joins them in song ("Who Will Buy? [Reprise]"). As the vendors leave, Nancy and Bill appear and grab Oliver. They bring him back to Fagin's den, where Nancy saves Oliver from a beating from Sikes after the boy tries to flee. Nancy remorsefully reviews their dreadful life, but Bill maintains that any living is better than none while Fagin tries to smooth things over ("It's A Fine Life [Reprise]"). Left alone, Fagin ponders his current existence and possible life changes ("Reviewing the Situation"); however, after thinking of various excuses, he elects to stay just as he is.

Back at the workhouse, Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, now unhappily married, are told by the dying pauper Old Sally that Oliver's mother, Agnes, left a gold locket when she died in childbirth. Old Sally had stolen the locket, which she gives to the Widow Corney before she dies. Mr. and Mrs. Bumble realize that Oliver may have wealthy relatives ("Oliver! [Reprise]") and visit Mr. Brownlow (who has advertised for news of Oliver), hoping to profit from any reward given for information . Mr. Brownlow realizes they are not interested in Oliver's welfare but only money and throws them out. Recognizing the picture inside the locket as a picture of his daughter, he realizes that Oliver is actually his grandson.

Nancy visits Mr. Brownlow, explains how she and Bill abducted Oliver, and remorsefully promises to deliver Oliver to him safely that night on London Bridge but refuses to give up her fellow gang members. She ponders again about Bill ("As Long as He Needs Me [Reprise]"). Suspecting Nancy, Bill follows her as she sneaks Oliver out of Fagin's den. At London Bridge, he confronts them and viciously clubs Nancy to death. He then grabs Oliver and runs off. Mr. Brownlow arrives and discovers Nancy's body. A large crowd forms, among them the distraught Bet. Bullseye, Bill's terrier, turns on his master and returns to the scene of the crime, and the crowd prepares to follow him. After Sikes brings Oliver to Fagin's hideout looking for aid, Fagin and his boys flee in panic. The constables break in, and Dodger is arrested before he can escape. Not finding Bill at the hideout, the crowd returns to the Thames Embankment. Bill appears at the top of the bridge, holding Oliver as hostage and threatening to kill him. When a memory of the dead Nancy freezes Sikes, two policemen sneak up on him, and one of them shoots Bill while the other grabs Oliver. After Oliver is reunited with Mr. Brownlow, the mob disperses. Fagin appears and decides that the time has never looked better for him to straighten out his life ("Reviewing the Situation [Reprise]").

Musical numbers


Original London production

Oliver! premiered at the Wimbledon Theatre for a preliminary engagement before opening at the New Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre) on 30 June 1960 and ran for 2,618 performances, a record for a musical in London at the time.[4][5] 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 the supporting role of Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker. Keith Hamshere (the original Oliver) is now a Hollywood still photographer; Martin Horsey (the original Artful Dodger) worked as an actor/director and authored the play L'Chaim.[citation needed] Other boys who alternated in the juvenile leads included Phil Collins, Leonard Whiting and Davy Jones as the Artful Dodger. The cast also included Tony Robinson as one of the Workhouse boys/Fagin's Gang, and John Bluthal as Fagin. Former professional boxer Danny Sewell was the original Bill Sikes and remained in the role (including the original Broadway and US touring productions) for almost six years.[citation needed] Steve Marriott played workhouse boys including The Artful Dodger, and he is featured on the original soundtrack LP. Michael Cashman played the role of Oliver during his time in the production.[citation needed]

Sid James turned down the part of Fagin as the timing of the production coincided with his own attempts to move away from the shady and roguish roles for which he was well known.[6]

Original Broadway production

Clive Revill as Fagin in the Broadway production of Oliver!

David Merrick brought Oliver! to the Broadway stage, where it premiered at the Imperial Theatre on 6 January 1963. It closed on 14 November 1964, after 774 performances.[7] The cast featured child actor Bruce Prochnik in the title role alongside Georgia Brown, Danny Sewell and Barry Humphries, reprising their West End roles as Nancy, Bill Sikes and Mr. Sowerberry, respectively, and Clive Revill as Fagin, replacing Ron Moody. The national tour and cast recording featured Michael Goodman as The Artful Dodger, but on Broadway the role was played by future Monkee Davy Jones, another veteran of the London production. 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, featuring 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. The cast recording was done in Los Angeles in advance of its New York opening.[8]

Georgia Brown, Davy Jones, Ronnie Kroll, Joan Lombardo, and Robin Ramsay appeared performing two musical numbers from Oliver! ("I'd Do Anything" and the Act II reprise of "As Long as He Needs Me") on The Ed Sullivan Show on the evening of 9 February 1964, the same evening that the Beatles made their first U.S. television appearance on that show.[9][10]

1967 and 1977 London revivals

A revival opened in April 1967 at the Piccadilly Theatre, starring Paul Bartlett as the title character and Barry Humphries as Fagin, with Marti Webb as Nancy, running for 331 performances. It was directed by David Phethean, produced by Donald Albery, with sets by Sean Kenney.[11]

Cameron Mackintosh revived Oliver! in London in 1977. It played at the Albery Theatre (the renamed New Theatre; now the Noël Coward Theatre), starring Roy Hudd as Fagin (later replaced by Roy Dotrice and then George Layton,[12]) and ran for over two years. This production was totally faithful to the 1960 original version, using Sean Kenny's set. The original production's sepia background painted on the rear stage wall was still extant.[citation needed]

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 Theatre and ran from 29 April 1984 through 13 May 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. For this production, the song "I Shall Scream" was eliminated.

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".[13] 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".[14] 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".[15]

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."[13]

1994 London revival

Cameron Mackintosh produced another revival of the show which opened at the London Palladium in the West End on 8 December 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, Ben Reynolds, Jon Lee, Steven Webb, James Bourne, James Rowntree and Tom Fletcher, while the Artful Dodger was played by Adam Searles and others including Matt Johnson, Paul Bailey and Bronson Webb. The role of Bet was played by Danielle McCormack, Rosalind James, Francesca Jackson and Lindsey Fawcett.[16] 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 musical closed on 21 February 1998.[17]

1998 UK tour

Following the Palladium production, a UK tour produced by Mackintosh (in co-production with Theatre Royal, Plymouth) began in 1998 starring Gary Wilmot as Fagin, Sonia Swaby as Nancy and David Birrell as Bill Sikes.

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. 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".[citation needed]

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. Three actors shared the role of Oliver: Harry Stott, Laurence Jeffcoate and Gwion Wyn Jones. Robert Madge, Ross McCormack, Eric Dibb Fuller and Jack Glister played The Artful Dodger. 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/Dr. Grimwig, 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. After the departure of the original Olivers, the role was passed on to Zac Hurst, Francesco Piancentini-Smith, Edward Cooke, Edward Holtom and Ethan Smith. Edward Holtom made a sad departure, one month before his scheduled leave and the date on his contract expired. No reason was given for this.

When Rowan Atkinson fell ill in April 2009, Russ Abbot stepped in to play the role temporarily.[18] Abbot had starred in the 1997 Palladium run. In July 2009, British comedian Omid Djalili replaced Atkinson as Fagin,[19] receiving positive reviews. In December 2009, Griff Rhys Jones took over as Fagin, with Steven Hartley as Bill Sikes.[20] Hartley had played Sikes in the 1997 Palladium production. In March 2010, Kerry Ellis took over the role of Nancy, also receiving positive reviews.[21] 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 again took over as Fagin. Stephen Moore was a replacement for Mr. Brownlow. Ron Moody, the original Fagin, joined the cast at the end of the performance on 14 June 2010, in celebration of the show's 50th Anniversary. Griff Rhys Jones returned as Fagin in December 2010.[citation needed]

The production closed on 8 January 2011, to be replaced at the theatre by the original London production of Shrek The Musical.[22]

2011 UK and Ireland tour

After the 2009 revival closed in January 2011, Cameron Mackintosh announced that a new production based on the Drury Lane production with a new set and direction by Laurence Connor would embark on a 13-month UK and Ireland tour beginning at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff in December 2011 and ending February 2013 at the Bristol Hippodrome. The tour was announced to star Neil Morrissey and Brian Conley sharing the role of Fagin and Samantha Barks (who came third in the BBC reality show I'd Do Anything, which was won by Jodie Prenger to be cast in the 2009 revival as Nancy) as Nancy.

In January 2012, Mackintosh made a surprise appearance at the curtain call of a performance to announce that Barks had been cast as Eponine in the movie adaptation of Les Misérables, causing her to leave the tour on 1 April during the Birmingham Hippodrome run, being replaced by Cat Simmons. Barks later returned for the final two weeks of the Edinburgh Playhouse run in June before returning with Morrissey. She once again left the production early to perform at the 2013 Oscars.

2023 Off-Broadway Revival

In June 2022, it was announced New York City Center would stage Oliver as a part of its Encores! series.[23] The cast features Lilli Cooper (Nancy), Raúl Esparza (Fagin), Julian Lerner (The Artful Dodger), Tam Mutu (Bill Sikes), Brad Oscar (Mr. Bumble), Benjamin Pajak (Oliver), Michael Siberry (Mr. Brownlow), and Mary Testa (Widow Corney) with direction by Lear deBessonet. The production ran from May 3rd - 14th 2023.[24] Gavin Lee was the standby for Fagin but went on several times during the run.[25]

Planned 2024 London revival

A new production presented by Cameron Mackintosh is scheduled to open at Chichester Festival Theatre from 8 July to 7 September 2024, before transferring to the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End from 14 December. It will be newly revised by Mackintosh and directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, designed by Lez Brotherston with a cast including Simon Lipkin as Fagin, Shanay Holmes as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins as the Artful Dodger, and Philip Franks as Mr. Brownlow.[26][27]

UK regional productions

In December 2013, a revival directed by Daniel Evans opened at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield with Tom Edden as Fagin for the festive season.

An actor-musician production opened at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury directed by Luke Sheppard with a cast including Cameron Blakely as Fagin and Alice Fearn as Nancy which ran from 31 July to 19 September 2015.

In December 2015, a revival opened at the Curve, Leicester for the festive season starring Peter Polycarpou as Fagin, Cat Simmons and Laura Pitt-Pulford as Nancy, directed by Paul Kerryson.

In November 2023, a production opened at the Leeds Playhouse (converting the theatre in the round) for the festive season directed by James Brining with a cast including Steve Furst as Fagin and Jenny Fitzpatrick as Nancy.

International productions

In 1963, Dutch musician Seth Gaaikema translated the musical into Dutch.

In 1968, Oliver was taken to Japan, by the Japanese film company Toho Productions. "Consider Yourself" was translated into Japanese. Directed by Geoffrey Ferris who had worked on the UK production. Australian actor Robin Ramsay played Fagin. Most of the cast were British including Ian Calvin, along with two London original Workhouse boys, Ray Millross and Terry Latham. The rest of the workhouse boys were American.

Vincent Price starred as Fagin in a 1974 summer stock production in Columbus, Ohio[28] and again in 1976 in a regional tour[29] that included The Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas and the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre (see "1976 [Season 58] - The Regular Season" of List of The Muny repertory).

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's production, was recreated by Graham Gill. John Waters played 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 Mathew Waters and Tim Matthews, with Waters performing on the opening night. Waters declined the tour after the Sydney production to appear in the Hollywood movie Peter Pan.

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.[30] The cast included Mark McCracken as Fagin, Renata Renee Wilson as Nancy and Justin S. Pereira as Oliver.[31] 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 Ania 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. In 2012 a new production was staged by Popular Productions in Dubai, UAE (First Group Theatre). It starred Philip Cox as Fagin and Lucy Hunter-James as Nancy.

Principal characters

Film adaptations

Main article: Oliver! (film)

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, Harry Secombe and Leonard Rossiter. The 1968 motion picture won six Academy Awards including Best Picture, and received nominations for both Moody and Wild. It was first telecast in the United States by ABC-TV in 1975. The film went to cable in the US in 1982, and it is still regularly broadcast.

On 1 March 2013, a planned remake of Oliver! was announced. It was originally aiming for a 2016 release. Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the film version of the musical Les Misérables was announced as producer, and potential talent included Les Misérables' Samantha Barks, who played Nancy on the 2011-2013 UK Tour, repeating her part and Stephen Daldry as the director.[32]


The score of Oliver! has been recorded numerous times. There are cast recordings (on compact disc) available for the original London and Broadway productions as well as for 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 with Stanley Holloway as Fagin and Alma Cogan as Nancy (Capitol Records ST 1784, 1962), with Jon Pertwee of Doctor Who fame as Fagin and Jim Dale as The Artful Dodger (Music for Pleasure MFP 1073, 1966), with Ian Carmichael as Fagin and Joyce Blair as Nancy (World Record Club S-7036, 1963) and with Josephine Barstow as Nancy, Sheila Hancock as Mrs. Corney and Julian Forsyth as Fagin (That's Entertainment Records/TER MUS C NO3, 1994; a new version was released in 2009 with Sally Ann Triplett replacing Barstow).

Cast and characters

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

Productions Original London Original Australia Original Broadway London revival First Broadway revival Film adaptation London revival First London revival Second Broadway revival Second London revival Third London revival Off-Broadway revival
1960 1961 1963 1967 1965 1968 1977 1983 1984 1994 2009 2023
Fagin Ron Moody Johnny Lockwood Clive Revill Barry Humphries Robin Ramsay Ron Moody Roy Hudd Ron Moody Jonathan Pryce Rowan Atkinson Raúl Esparza
Nancy Georgia Brown Sheila Bradley Georgia Brown Marti Webb Maura K. Wedge Shani Wallis Gillian Burns Jackie Marks Patti LuPone Sally Dexter Jodie Prenger Lilli Cooper
Bill Sikes Danny Sewell John Maxim Danny Sewell Oliver Reed Michael Attwell Linal Haft Graeme Campbell Miles Anderson Burn Gorman Tam Mutu
Oliver Twist Keith Hamshere Malcolm Shield Bruce Prochnik Paul Bartlett Victor Stiles Mark Lester Anthony Pearson Braden Danner James Daley
Gregory Bradley
Tom Rogers
Gwion Wyn Jones
Laurence Jeffcoate
Harry Stott
Benjamin Pajak
The Artful Dodger Martin Horsey Andrew Guild David Jones George Priolo Jack Wild David Garlick Adam Searles
Paul Bailey
Ethan Williams
Jack Glister
Ross McCormack
Eric Dibb Fuller
Robert Madge
Julian Lerner
Mr. Bumble Paul Whitsun-Jones Richard Watson Willoughby Goddard Alan Crofoot Harry Secombe Robert Bridges Peter Bayliss Michael McCarty James Saxon Julius D'Silva Brad Oscar
Widow Corney Hope Jackman Nancy Brown Hope Jackman Dawna Shove Peggy Mount Joan Turner Meg Johnson Elizabeth Larner Jenny Galloway Wendy Ferguson Mary Testa
Mr. Sowerberry Barry Humphries Bob Hornery Barry Humphries John Miranda Leonard Rossiter Richard Frost Roderick Horn David Delve Julian Bleach Thom Sesma
Mrs. Sowerberry Sonia Fraser Christine Calcutt Helena Carroll Sherill Price Hylda Baker Liz Moscrop Frances Cuka Julia Deakin Louise Gold Rashidra Scott
Mr. Brownlow George Bishop Geoffrey King Geoffrey Lumb Bram Nossen Joseph O'Conor Geoffrey Toone Michael Allinson James Villiers Julian Glover Michael Siberry

Notable replacements

London (1977)

London (1994-1998)

London (2009-2011)

Additional notable performers

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award 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 Author of a Musical Lionel Bart 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 Don Pippin Won
Best Scenic Design Sean Kenny Won

1984 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1984 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Ron Moody Nominated

1994 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
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

2009 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2010 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Rowan Atkinson Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Matthew Bourne Nominated
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Musical Revival Won
Best Actor in a Musical Rowan Atkinson Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Burn Gorman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Jodie Prenger Won
Best Takeover in a Role Omid Djalili Nominated

2009 Teatr Rozrywki w Chorzowie

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2010 Gold Mask Gold mask for directing Magdalena Piekorz Nominated
Gold Mask for the role of Nancy Marta Florek Nominated
Gold Mask For scenography Marcel Sławiński & Katarzyna Sobańska Won

Oliver! was one of eight UK musicals featured on Royal Mail stamps, issued in February 2011.[33]


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.[34]


When Lionel Bart faced severe financial difficulties several years later, he sold his past and future rights to Oliver! to the entertainer Max Bygraves for £350. Bygraves later sold them on for £250,000.[35]

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "West End rules force 'Oliver' off school stage". The Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Oliver!: The real story of Britain's greatest musical". The Independent. 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ John Glavin, ed. (2017). Dickens Adapted. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1351944564.
  4. ^ "'Oliver!' listing"
  5. ^ "West End 'Oliver' Had Record Run". Variety. 14 September 1966. p. 1.
  6. ^ Ross, Robert (2009). Sid James – The Authorised Biography. JR Books. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-906779-35-1.
  7. ^ "Oliver!". Internet Broadway Database. First Broadway production
  8. ^ "RCA Caster Jumps Gun." Music Business 9:3 (6 March 1965), 3.
  9. ^ "The Ed Sullivan Show Episode #17.19, 9 February 1964". IMDb.
  10. ^ Masterworks Broadway
  11. ^ Wearing, J. P. (2021). The London Stage 1960–1980: A Calendar of Dramatic Productions. London: Word Press. pp. 466–467.
  12. ^ "Actor George Layton and pop singer Helen Shapiro who are co-starring..." Getty Images. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  13. ^ a b LuPone, Patti. "Chapter: A Working Actor, Part 1", Patti LuPone: A Memoir, Random House, Inc., 2010, ISBN 0-307-46073-8, pp. 154–155
  14. ^ Rich, Frank. "Review Moody in Oliver! Revival", The New York Times, 30 April 1984, p. C11
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  23. ^ ‘Oliver!’, ‘The Light In The Piazza’ & ‘Dear World’ Set For New York City Center Encores! 2023 Season
  24. ^ Encores 2023 Lionel Bart’s Oliver!
  25. ^ Gavin Lee To Go On as 'Fagin' Tonight in OLIVER! at New York City Center
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