City Center Encores! has found its Artful Dodger for the upcoming production of Lionel Bart's Oliver!, set to run at the New York City venue May 3-14. Julian Lerner will take on the role, joining the previously announced Lilli Cooper, Raúl Esparza, and Tam Mutu. Encores! Artistic Director Lear deBessonet is directing.
New York City native Lerner has spent the bulk of his career acting on screen, with credits including The Wonder Years, Yes Day, Alma's Way, and Leo the Lionhearted. Lerner joins a cast that includes Cooper as Nancy, Esparza as Fagin, Mutu as Bill Sikes, Brad Oscar as Mr. Bumble, Benjamin Pajak as Oliver Twist, and Mary Testa as Widow Corney.
The ensemble will include William Thomas Colin, Charity Angel Dawson, Julian Marcus DeGuzman, Zachary Downer, Sam Duncan, William Foon, Ethen Green-Younger, Jeff Kready, Jenny Laroche, Devin Miles Lugo, Morgan Marcell, Lindsay Roberts, Eliseo Roman, Michael Cash Savio, and Jacob Keith Watson.
Based on the Charles Dickens classic, the musical follows the story of orphan Oliver Twist, who escapes the orphanage to the streets of Victorian London. Outside, he meets Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and a band of child pickpockets. The show's hit songs include “Where Is Love?,” “Food! Glorious Food!,” and “As Long As He Needs Me.”
Presented by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh, the limited engagement will have a concert adaptation by Deborah Stein. The creative team also includes production consultant Alisa Solomon, scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Justin Townsend, sound designer Alex Neumann, music coordinator Kimberlee Wertz, and music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell.
The 2023 Encores! season opened earlier this month with Dear World starring Donna Murphy. The season will conclude with The Light in the Piazza starring Ruthie Ann Miles June 21–25.
This production of Oliver! is licensed by Music Theatre International.