Oliver!

Oliver! is a British musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. It was the first musical adaptation of a Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit, one of the reasons why it attracted attention.
The plot of Dickens’ original novel is considerably simplified for the purposes of the musical.

It premiered in the West End on June 30, 1960, enjoying a long run of 2618 performances. A successful Broadway production opened on January 6, 1963 at the Imprial Theatre for 774 performances. It has had further tours and revivals. It was made into a musical film in 1968. The show launched the careers of several child actors, including Davy Jones, later of The Monkees; Phil Collins, later of Genesis; and Alan Paul, later of The Manhattan Transfer among others.

Oliver Twist is a young boy who lives in a workhouse with other orphaned boys. When Oliver disrupts a meal by asking for more, he is sold to a local undertaker and his family. They treat Oliver horribly and make him sleep under the coffins. Oliver escapes and runs off to Paddington Green, where he quickly befriends another young boy, the Artful Dodger. Dodger takes him to his home, an academy for orphans who learn how to be pick-pockets run by a kind, yet slightly sinister, old gentleman named Fagin. Oliver is also introduced to Nancy Sikes, a lovable young woman, and Bet, Nancy’s best friend. When Oliver goes on his first pick-pocketing job, he is caught by the police. The man that Oliver thieved, Mr. Brownlow, learns of Oliver’s sad past and brings him into his own home. Meanwhile, Nancy’s husband (the villainous Bill Sikes) worries that Oliver will tell Mr. Brownlow and the police where the thieves live. He forces Nancy and Bet to snatch Oliver from Mr. Brownlow’s house and take him back to Fagin’s. Nancy does everything her husband tells her to but plans on secretly taking Oliver back to Mr. Brownlow. Before she can do so, Bill finds out of his wife’s plans, and murders her. He then goes after Oliver, but is shot and killed. Oliver and Mr. Brownlow, who turns out to be Oliver’s grandfather, return safely home.

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