Oliver Twist is looking for love in all the wrong places, but thereís hope in Lionel Bartís fun but dark musical filled with great songs and some terrific roles Ė roles that are in this case filled with actors ranging from fourth through eighth graders at Peter Pan Junior Theatre. Director Mark Arapostathis has been with PPJT for more than thirty years now, and heís put on another strong production filled with quality sets, costumes, orchestra (directed by Joe Dyke), and a talented young cast that tackles their roles with enthusiasm and professionalism.

Sixth grade student Trevor Norling is Oliver, whose tender Where is Love? solo is a hit with the audience. Most of the people who surround him donít offer much by way of love, but they are a colorful lot. Beginning with Bumble. Thatís Mister Bumble, and Michael McCarter-Crellin has him down whether heís intimidating young orphans or wooing the Widow Corney (Elizabeth Ryder) with their entertaining I Shall Scream duet date or complaining about the wife he successfully wooed. After a brief stint with the not-very-warm-and-fuzzy Sowerberry funeral family, itís off to London for Oliver where heís introduced to the singular Fagin, here played by tenth grader (the exception to the 4th through 8th grade rule) Zack Alper who is terrific in the role with expert use of voice, great characterization, and nice comic timing. He leads his band of excited young pickpockets in Pick a Pocket or Two and Be Back Soon, not to mention an excellent solo of Reviewing the Situation. Yet no one gives him less love than Bill Sykes, a cruel kind even to those he cares about, played with gruff moodiness and venom by Jordan Reeder.

But not everyone is so bad. Sam Alper is the fun and streetwise Artful Dodger eager to help Oliver begin a promising new career path, doing it with a good cockney accent and an easygoing confidence that makes him a natural leader as he gets the whole of London to welcome Oliver in town with Consider Yourself (At Home) Ė a town thatís actually full of people that learned their cockney surprisingly well, and that ensemble enhances several scenes including Consider Yourself and the Oom-Pah-Pah bar song performed with tons of energy.

But no one shows their love quite like Nancy, Bill Sykesís girlfriend and leader of fun-loving tavern songs who is beloved by Faginís orphans, and soon Oliver as well. Aimee Klabunde is an impressive young actress who inhabits her character well as the fun-loving tavern singer, the playful Nancy in Iíd Do Anything, as well as the more mature parts Ė her voice trembling with conflicting emotion as she sings As Long As He Needs Me about her abusive lover.

Other cast members include Sierra Rivers as Nancyís younger sister Bet, helping make Iíd Do Anything a great scene. While Evan Ryder is the kindly Mr. Brownlow, Jocie Morgan the gentle Mrs. Bedwin, Bobby Weiss and Lane Griffith as the song-and-dance funeral team, Keenan McGuckin as bully Noah Claypole, Jenna Thurman as sassy Charlotte, Rachel Minter as a super old Old Sally with a lot on her mind, and Cameron Wheeler as an amusingly incompetent Dr. Grimwig. They are all dressed in several quality costumes and play amongst great backdrops and sets. Mark Arapostathisís show hits Oliverís humorous parts and isnít afraid to tackle some of the harsher parts of the story, including Bill striking Nancy with a fierce blow and a dramatically staged conclusion that will decide young Oliverís fate.

Performs April 1 - 4, 2009

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Mr. Bumble: Michael McCarter-Crellin
Widow Corney: Elizabeth Ryder
Oliver Twist: Trevor Norling
Mr. Sowerberry: Bobby Weiss
Mrs. Sowerberry: Lane Griffith
Charlotte: Jenna Thurman
Noah Claypole: Keenan McGuckin
Artful Dodger: Sam Alper
Fagin: Zack Alper
Nancy: Aimee Klabunde
Bet: Sierra Rivers
Bill Sykes: Jordan Reeder
Mrs. Bedwin: Jocie Morgan
Mr. Brownlow: Evan Ryder
Dr. Grimwig: Cameron Wheeler
Old Sally: Rachel Minter

~ People of London ~
Paul: Nick Gagnon
Strawberry Sellers:
Rhiannon Maybee
Kate Jamison
Lane Griffith
Taylor Smith
Milk Maids:
Victoria Angeles
Jordi Torzeski
Iana Knight
Emma Lam
Rose Sellers:
Maggie Holscher
Gabriella Winton
Kaley Jenkins
Ryan McDonald
Knife Grinders:
Daniel Whitaker
Nick Orr
Joey Heimbach
Officer Pickering: Luke Martschinske
Officer Higgins: AJ Parks
Greg: Daniel Beach
Terry: Cyle Everson
Alfred: Brandon Beach
Gloria: Harley Estrada
Kimberly: Suzie Silva
Phyllis: Anya Sachs
Elaine: Sydney Morgan
Charlie: Caleb Solorio
Mike: Ben Lancia
JoAnn: Zoe Zawacki
Ellen: Kate Erath
Dave: Ben Kesner
Carla: Ashley Livolsi
Stacey: Madeline McKay
Cindy: Cori Harris
Karen: Carly McCoole
Isela: Maya Rouillard
Penny: Angie Barnaba
Mick: Charlie Harris
Jennifer: Aysia Monroe
Carmen: Sage McNeely
John: Jack Buckley
Pam: Shannon Wooldridge
Blair: Sean Dawson
Dean: Timmy Lancia
Jean: Karis Baber
Susan: Rilyn Gardner
Tanya: Danica Hutchins
Kelley: Madaline Myers
James: Michael Plummer
Jenny: Makena Heiskala
Wendy: Callie Everson
Melissa: Tatum Holder
Elsa: Julia Jenkins
Nick: Cole Lehto
Kathleen: Noelle Rivers
Karisa: Grace Lehman
Chris: Brady Curran
Kim: Molly Martins
Judy: Jamie Boyd
Rhonda: Sophia Quinn
Darla: Torri Norling
Bonnie: Grace Hayman
Monica: Serena Thurman
Rhoda: Isabel Desmet
Kelly: Joshua Wing

Peter Pan: Zoe Zawacki, Karis Baber

Director: Mark Arapostathis
Choral Director: Elaine Arapostathis
Choreographer: Monica Thurman-Avalos
Orchestra Director: Joe Dyke
Assistant Directors:
Karisa Archer
Megan Wheeler
Laura Erath


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