Oliver! Review

On Saturday, April 24, 2010, I made my way to the Hanover Theater in Worcester, MA for the matinee showing of Oliver! put on by the Assumption College Theater group.  I knew a few people in the show and was very excited to see it.  From previous musical experience, I know that Oliver! is not much of a dancing musical.  Nonetheless, I very much enjoyed what I saw.

Complete with an elaborate set, time period costuming and a talented cast, Oliver! delivered a delightful showing for the Assumption College and Worcester communities.  Different from past AC shows, the cast of the production included many members from outside theater groups including young children from the area and W.I.S.E., an elderly group associate with the College.

Throughout the show, the children did the majority of the “dancing.”  The whole show was choreographed by none other than Jennifer Agbay, AC’s go-to choreography for theater productions and the current director of Ballet Arts Worcester, a prestigious and traditional dance company in the heart of the city.

The dancing throughout the musical consisted mostly of basic step-ball-changes, some partner work and lots of skipping (mostly done by the children.)  It was, for the majority of the show, clean and precise movement that looked both impressive and much more difficult on stage.  With a large cast, even simple dance steps can look a little more advanced and provides the audience with an eye-catching delight.

Aside from the dancing, my favorite part of the show was the girl who played Nancy – the female lead. Jill Martucci, an AC  junior and old friend of mine, has been in two other Assumption musicals and always has a main role. Listening to her sing, it is not surprise why. I got goosebumps listening to her solo, “As Long As He Needs Me” and tears welled in my eyes as her character was killed at the end of the show.  (Her minimal dancing throughout the show was comical as well; she is not exactly a dancer, but will be the first to admit that she works hard to pick it up as best she can.)

Overall, I really enjoyed Oliver! and am very much looking forward to going back to the Hanover this upcoming Sunday to see the professional production of Beauty & the Beast.  I also just found out that one of my best friends from high school landed the lead role in UMass Lowell’s theater company’s production of Footloose.  I will be venturing to Lowell on Thursday, May 6, for opening night of that production as well.  And since that is definitely a dance-based musical, one of my last blogs of the semester will be about that performance as well.

As the semester winds down, I am happy to report that the next few blogs will be dedicated to the upcoming shows I get to see how my overall opinion of the semester.

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Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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