The Dutch production of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver!, which had its first night at the Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam on Sept. 19, will tour twelve theatres in The Netherlands until June 30, 2000. Oliver! is the second Dutch national tour of musical producer Joop van den Ende.
Oliver! is based on the Charles Dickens classic novel "Oliver Twist" and opened at the Albery Theatre in London on June 30, 1960, where it played 2,618 performances. On Broadway the musical opened on Jan. 6, 1962, where it played 774 performances. The musical was previously seen in The Netherlands in 1963, when it starred John Kraaykamp as Fagin and Nelly Freijda as Nancy.
In the current Dutch version the role of Fagin is played by Dutch television actor Arjan Ederveen, for whom Oliver! is a musical debut. From December 1999 onwards he will share the role with veteran Dutch musical actor Willem Nijholt. Other main parts are played by Mariska van Kolck as Nancy and Bart Oomen as Bill Sykes. The total cast comprises 28 actors and 16 children. The roles of Oliver and the Artful Dodger are played by various children, as Dutch law doesn’t allow more than a very limited performances each year for child actors.
The Dutch version of Oliver! is directed by Ken Caswell, who in The Netherlands has also directed Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd and Fiddler on the Roof. Choreography is by Geoffrey Garratt, who was a member of the 1994 London Palladium cast of Oliver!. Tim Northam has designed both the sets and costumes, while Sean Alderking is the musical director. The new Dutch translation was made by Daniel Cohen.
The current British touring production of Oliver!, which is based on the 1994 London Palladium production directed by Sam Mendes, will move across the Atlantic to Toronto, where they begin performances on Nov. 7 at the Princess of Wales Theatre. British television and stage star Russ Abbott will play the role of Fagin and Sonia Swaby will be Nancy. According to the New York Times a Broadway premiere is scheduled for early spring of 2000. --by Maxim Bezembinder