Arena Stage's current production of Lionel Bart's Oliver!, the musical based on Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist," takes a darker turn than most productions of the show. The production, directed by Molly Smith, includes drugs, weapons and a re-imagined score. Leading Lady Eleasha Gamble takes us behind the scenes!
Spend a Day With Eleasha Gamble, the Tattooed, Mohawked Nancy of Arena Stage's Modern-Day Oliver!
The Washington Post reports that Arena Stage's production underscores some of Bart's original music with hip hop beats and gives others more bluesy vibes. "Oom-Pah-Pah," the second-act opener performed in a tavern setting, includes "drugs now circulating through this den of thieves."
Costume designer Wade Laboissonniere's designs, according to the Post, take a more modern approach as well. Nancy, played by Eleasha Gamble, first appears sporting a mohawk and a cut-off vest. Other costumes include dog collars and denim jackets as accessories. Oliver! features choreography by Parker Esse and music direction by Paul Sportelli.
According to a release, the production is described as "blending the chaotic worlds of 19th-century Victorian London with 2015 London. Smith’s new in-the-round staging infuses a modern edge to the classic musical about an innocent orphan thrown into the dark world of double-dealing thieves and conmen, highlighting the disparity between classes and dangerous life on London’s streets today."
The cast of Oliver! includes Jake Heston Miller, Kyle Coffman, Eleasha Gamble, Ian Lassiter, Jeff McCarthy, Paul Vogt, Rayanne Gonzales, Kyle Schliefer, Tom Story, Dorea Schmidt, Lara Zinn, Chaz Jackson, Jesse Palmer, Catherine Flye, Lauren Gemelli, Thomas Adrian Simpson, Stephen Gregory Smith, Kyle Vaughn, Ian Anthony Coleman, Mohammed Badawi, Sebastian Gervase, Henry Niepoetter, Ethan Van Slyke, Jane Bunting and Jimmy Mavrikes.
Performances began Oct. 30 and continue through Jan. 3, 2016.
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