The Lionel Bart musical Oliver! will open on 19 September 1999 at the Koninklijk Theater Carre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The role of Fagin will be shared by Arjan Ederveen and Willem Nijholt (currently the Engineer in the Dutch version of Miss Saigon), who will start in December 1999. Other roles will be played by Mariska van Kolck as Nancy and Marjolein Sligte as the Widow Corney. The total cast will include 28 actors and 16 children. The Dutch revival will be directed by Ken Caswell, who also directed the current revival of Anatevka (Fiddler on the Roof), which is currently touring through The Netherlands.
The musical Oliver! was based on the Charles Dickens classic novel "Oliver Twist" and opened at the Albery Theatre in London on June 30, 1960 and opened on Broadway 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.
Oliver! was filmed in 1968 by director Carol Reed, with Ron Moody as Fagin, Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes and Mark Lester as Oliver. The movie earned six Oscars, including best film and best director. Sadly, both actor Reed and author Bart died within weeks of each other earlier this year.
British theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh, who started his career as an assistant stage manager on the first British tour of Oliver!, revived the musical in 1994 at the London Palladium Theatre. That production was directed by Sam Mendes and holds the record of longest-playing production for the London Palladium. Currently Mendes' production is touring through Great Britain and will open in Toronto, Canada, this fall, before a scheduled opening on Broadway in spring 2000. Oliver! will be the second Dutch National Tour of musical producer Joop van den Ende and will tour twelve theatres in The Netherlands between Aug. 31, 1999 and June 30, 2000.
-- by Maxim Bezembinder