Carolyn started rehearsals for PICT Classic Theatre’s Oliver Twist this week. She’s playing a member of Fagin’s gang. Last year in Great Expectations, she split a role; this year there is no double-casting, so she’s in every performance. I’ll be doing a lot of driving.
This is not the musical Oliver; it’s the director’s original adaptation.
Oliver Twist, a young orphan boy, becomes lost in the underbelly of old Victorian London while in search of a forever home. Along the way, he meets both kindhearted and terrifying strangers who are the foundation of one of the most recognizable tales of all time.
Will Sendera, a sixth-grader at Pittsburgh CAPA, will make his PICT debut as Oliver Twist in this production. He has been seen locally in productions at Pittsburgh CLO, CLO Academy and Prime Stage, and he has also performed in Austin, TX, at the ZACH Theatre and St. Edwards University.
The old miser, Fagin, who is one of the more frightening characters Oliver meets along the way, will be played by 2014 Featured Artist James FitzGerald, who was last seen at PICT as Dinzie Conlee in Sharon’s Grave and Mr. Detweiler in How the Other Half Loves. Fagin is the head of a gang of pickpocketing children, which will be played by eight young boys and girls from in and around the Pittsburgh area. Charity Hipple, Carolyn Jerz, Elliot Pullen and Simon Colker, who will be playing the Artful Dodger, are all returning to PICT to be members of Fagin’s gang after performing in Great Expectations last December. Jacob Epstein, Dan Harmon, Justin Bees and Lance Wilhelm will also be playing young pickpockets for their PICT debuts.
Nancy, a former member of Fagin’s gang and a woman of ill repute, will be played by Karen Baum, who was a 2014 Featured Artist. She was last seen at PICT as Rita in Educating Rita, Trassie Conlee in Sharon’s Grave, Mrs. Detweiler in How the Other Half Loves and Clarinda in For the Tree to Drop. Karen was also seen in PICT’s 2014 season in Great Expectations, Macbeth, Woman and Scarecrow and Blithe Spirit.
Her abusive boyfriend, Bill Sykes, will be played by Tony Bingham, who was last seen at PICT as Mr. Phillips in How the Other Half Loves. Other PICT credits include Nat McIlwaine in Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Herring in The Mask of Moriarty and Careless in The School for Scandal. Tony has also performed in Pittsburgh at CLO Cabaret, The Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater and Off the Wall Theatre.
Martin Giles recently appeared in Educating Rita and Sharon’s Grave, and he is returning to play the kindhearted Mr. Brownlow. Martin is in his fourteenth season with PICT and is a 2015 Featured Artist. Martin Giles also directed How the Other Half Loves, by Alan Ayckbourn and appeared in PICT’s 2014 Season in Great Expectations, Macbeth, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme and Waiting for Godot.
Mr. Bumble, the cruel beadle of the orphanage, will be played by David Cabot, who was last seen at PICT in James Joyce’s The Dead, The Shaughran, Wilde Tales and King Lear. He will be joined by Bridget Connors, who is making her PICT debut as the matron of the orphanage, Mrs. Corney.
Other PICT veterans joining this rich cast are Mark Conway Thompson, playing Mr. Grimwig, and Ken Bolden and Linda Froehlich playing the Sowerberrys and other roles. Dylan Marquis Meyers, Jordan Ross Weinhold, John Henry Steelman, Parag Gohil and Amy Wooler will also return to PICT to play multiple roles in this production with Alexis Cash, who is making her PICT debut.
The artistic team for this Oliver Twist includes scenic design by 2015 Featured Artist Johnmichael Bohach, lighting design by Keith A. Truax, costume design by Joan Markert, sound design by Elizabeth Atkinson and props by James Thome.