Book, Music, and Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist, this musical adaptation follows the harrowing journey of the young orphan as he navigates the seedy underbelly of Victorian England in search of a family to call his own. In the process, he meets some memorable characters, all of whom have their own plans for the boy, from adorable pickpocket to kidnapper’s hostage. At times funny and heartbreaking, the whole family will enjoy this charming musical adventure.
It’s lunch time in a Victorian workhouse owned by Mr. Bumble, and the children of the workhouse are being fed unsavory gruel… again. Dared by some of the other kids to do so, Oliver Twist asks for more food. As a result, he is sold to an undertaker as an apprentice. Once in the undertaker’s care, Oliver immediately runs into trouble and escapes.
After being on the run for nearly a week, Oliver meets a boy named Dodger, who says he knows of a place where the boys can stay for free. Oliver goes with Dodger, not knowing that he is a pick-pocket. The two boys head to live with a man named Fagin and his troupe of boys, whom he teaches to be pick-pockets. Bill Sykes, a criminal with a vicious reputation, also supervises the boys. His girlfriend, Nancy, has a positive bond with the boys and continues to stay with Sykes even though he consistently abuses her. Oliver goes out with the other boys on one of their pick-pocketing adventures, but is captured when they choose an older gentleman, Mr. Brownlow, as the target of their theft.
While in the pub where Nancy is working as a barmaid, Sykes hears from Dodger that Oliver has been taken by Mr. Brownlow into his own home. Worried that Oliver will get the criminal gang into trouble, Sykes devises a plan to retrieve him. When Mr. Brownlow sends Oliver on an errand, Sykes snatches him and totes him back to Fagin’s.
At the workhouse, Mr. Bumble comes across a golden locket left for Oliver that originally belonged to his deceased mother. Wanting to turn a profit, Mr. Bumble visits Mr. Brownlow to show him the locket. Mr. Brownlow promptly dismisses Mr. Bumble, but only after the locket brings about a revelation: Mr. Brownlow is Oliver’s grandfather. Nancy then visits Mr. Brownlow and pledges to bring the boy to him on London Bridge later that night. Sykes intercepts Nancy and Oliver on the bridge. The police eventually find and dispatch of Sykes, and Oliver is permanently reunited with his grandfather.