BY GEORGE J. DACRE
While it is not quite up to the high standards of WBT productions, “Oliver” features a lot of young talented youngsters on their way up and making debuts at the Elmsford venue and combined with some veteran actors makes for a credible and highly entertaining show. Directed and produced by John Fanelli and coproducer Nannette Fanelli, the very popular musical, written by Lionel Bart, holds up well before an almost sold out press night audience last Friday.
Brandon Singel, a sixth-grader at Harrison’s LMK Middle School is cast in the title role of Oliver Twist in this story of the street urchin who has rough times on the street of London in Charles Dicken’s classic. An orphan boy who gets involved with a band of pickpockets, the Artful Dodger, menacing Bill Sikes, kind hearted Nancy and the wily Fagin, Brandon is an appealing Oliver and holds his own with a cast of very talented young people and stage veterans.
John Egan of Dobbs Ferry, with a slew of Broadway credits, is a very good Mr. Bumble. John Antony Lopez is a very good Fagin with great stage presence. Lucy Braid of Manhattan, making her debut at Westchester Broadway Theatre, is outstanding as the friendly to Oliver, Nancy and scores with her renditions of “As Long As He Needs Me,” “Where Is Love” and “Oom Pah Pah.”
Brian Krinsky is a tough “Bill Sikes” and “The Boys,” a gang of young guys and dolls, are just great backing up Oliver in song and dance is this memorable musical show that has delighted thousands upon thousands of theatergoers over the years. Conductor Kurt Kelly has a 10-member orchestra to work with and they handle the score just beautifully.
Costumes, stage direction and choreography is excellent and very professional. Standing Ovations has done well with Oliver and I rate it Three Out of Four Stars!!! It runs through September 8. For tickets 914-592-2222 or broadwaytheatre.com.