Oliver! the Musical

West End London Premiere 1960 with Ron Moody and Georgia Brown

1st West End London Revival 1977 with Roy Hudd and Gillian Burns

2nd West End London Revival 1983 with Ron Moody and Jackie Marks

London Revival 1991 with Julian Forsyth and Sara Weymouth (Sadler's Wells / NYMT)

3rd West End London Revival 1994 with Jonathan Pryce and Sally Dexter

4th West End London Revival 2009 with Rowan Atkinson and Jodie Prenger

Musical by Lionel Bart freely based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Includes the well known songs Food Glorious Food; Consider Yourself; You've Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two; I'd Do Anything; Oom Pah Pah; As Long As He Needs Me; and many more.


West End London Premiere 1960 at the New Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre

Opened 30 June 1960, Closed 10 September 1966 at the New Theatre (was Albery Theatre, now Noel Coward Theatre)
Returned 26 April 1967, Closed 3 February 1968 at the Piccadilly Theatre

The original cast at the New Theatre featured Ron Moody as 'Fagin', Georgia Brown as 'Nancy', Danny Sewell as 'Bill Sykes', Keith Hamshere as 'Oliver', Martin Horsey as 'Artful Dodger', Paul Whitsun-Jones as 'Mr Bumble', Hope Jackman as 'Widow Corney', Barry Humphries as 'Mr Sowerberry', and George Bishop as 'Mr Brownlow'.

Following Ron Moody in the role of 'Fagin' was firstly John Bluthal, then Johnny Lockwood, and finally Aubrey Woods.

Following Georgia Brown in the role of 'Nancy was firstly Judy Bruce, then Vivienne Martin, and finally Nicolette Roeg.

The original cast at the Piccadilly Theatre featured Barry Humphries as 'Fagin', and Marti Webb as 'Nancy'. Towards the end of the run Robin Ramsay took over the role of 'Fagin'.

Directed by Peter Coe with designs by Sean Kenny.

The original New Theatre production became 'Longest Running Musical' in London's West End when it played it's 2,284th performance on the evening of Saturday 20 November 1965, taking it ahead of Salad Days 2,283 performances, My Fair Lady 2,281 performances - though it would soon be beaten by the musical The Sound of Music that had opened at the Palace Theatre in 1961. By time the New Theatre production closed in September 1966 it had played a record-breaking 2,618 performances.

Within six months of closing at the New Theatre, this production returned to London's West End, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre for a nine-month run at 'popular' (ie discounted) prices.


1st West End London Revival 1977 at the Albery Theatre

Previewed 21 December 1977, Opened 28 December 1977, Closed 20 September 1980 at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)

The original cast featured Roy Hudd as 'Fagin', Gillian Burns as 'Nancy', Michael Attwell as 'Bill Sykes', Paul Ainsworth as 'Oliver', Stephen Kebell as 'Artful Dodger', Robert Bridges as 'Mr Bumble', Joan Turner as 'Widow Corney', Graham Hamilton as 'Mr Sowerberry', and Jack Allen as 'Mr Brownlow'.

Following Roy Hudd in the role of 'Fagin' was, firstly Roy Dotrice, then finally George Layton.

Following Gillian Burns in the role of 'Nancy' was , firstly Sally Bentley, then finally Helen Sharpiro.

Directed by Robin Midgley and Larry Oaks, based on the original by Peter Coe, with designs by Sean Kenny.


2nd West End London Revival 1983 at the Aldwych Theatre

Previewed 14 December 1983, Opened 20 December 1983, Closed 14 January 1984 at the Aldwych Theatre

The original cast featured Ron Moody as 'Fagin', Jackie Marks as 'Nancy', Linal Haft as 'Bill Sykes', Anthony Pearson as 'Oliver', David Garlick as 'Artful Dodger', Peter Bayliss as 'Mr Bumble', Meg Johnson as 'Widow Corney', Richard Frost as 'Mr Sowerberry', and Geoffrey Toone as 'Mr Brownlow'.

Directed by Peter Coe with designs by Sean Kenny.

This production played a limited season in London before it made an unsuccessful transfer to New York Broadway's Mark Hellinger Theatre in April 1984, where it closed after just under three weeks (following two weeks of previews). Ron Moody (as 'Fagin') and David Garlick (as 'Artful Dodger') both reprised their roles in the Broadway version, joined by Patti LuPone as 'Nancy'. This musical has not been revived on Broadway since this ill-fated production.


London Revival 1991 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

Previewed 9 January 1991, Opened 10 January 1991, Closed 3 February 1991 at Sadler's Wells Theatre

The cast featured Julian Forsyth as 'Fagin'*, Sara Weymouth as 'Nancy'*, Billy Hartman as 'Bill Sykes'*, Marcel Bruneau as 'Oliver', Irfan Ahmad as 'Artful Dodger', Philip Dogham as 'Mr Bumble'*, Nuala Willis as 'Widow Corney'*, and Ken Ratcliffe as 'Mr Brownlow'*

Presented by the National Youth Music Theatre NYMT. There where six adult professional actors - marked with a '*' - in this production, with all the other roles performed by members of the National Youth Music Theatre who where aged between 10 and 19.

Directed by Jeremy James Taylor with choreography by Stuart Hopps, sets by Jason Denvir, costumes by Sheila Darlington, and lighting by Peter Walters.


3rd West End London Revival 1994 at the London Palladium

Previewed 15 November 1994, Opened 8 December 1994, Closed 22 February 1998 at the London Palladium

The original cast featured Jonathan Pryce as 'Fagin', Sally Dexter as 'Nancy', Miles Anderson as 'Bill Sykes', Gregory Bradley and James Daley as 'Oliver', Paul Bailey and Adam Searles as 'Artful Dodger', James Saxon as 'Mr Bumble', Jenny Galloway as 'Widow Corney', David Delve as 'Mr Sowerberry', and James Villiers as 'Mr Brownlow', with Mark Adams, Charley Bates, Cathy Breeze, Ulrika Butt, Julia Deakin, Danielle Delguidice, Anna Francolini, Geoff Garratt, Josephine Gordon, Rosalind James, Halcro Johnston, Michael Kirk, Carmel McSharry, Stephen Matthews, Lottie Mayor, Verity Anne Meldrum, Sarah Moyle, Tamzin Outhwaite, Sara Pelosi, Richard Pettyfer, Craig Purnell, Nick Searle, Stuart Shenwin, Paula Simpson, Anthony Venditti, Keel Watson and Julia Worsley, along with Mark Carroll, Frances Fry, Terry Kelly and Jill Nalder.

Directed by Sam Mendes with choreography by Matthew Bourne, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by David Hersey, and sound by Paul Groothuis and Mike Walker.

Jonathan Pryce played the role of 'Fagin' up to Saturday 29 July 1995; followed by George Layton from Monday 31 July to Saturday 2 September 1995; Jim Dale from Monday 4 September 1995 to Saturday 22 June 1996; Russ Abbot from Monday 24 June to Saturday 26 October 1996; Robert Lindsay from Monday 28 October 1996 to Saturday 11 May 1997; Barry Humphries from Monday 13 May to Saturday 1 November 1997; with Jim Dale returning from Monday 3 November 1997 through to Saturday 22 February 1998 when this production closed.

Sally Dexter played the role of 'Nancy' up to Saturday 11 November 1995; followed by Claire Moore from Monday 13 November 1995 to Saturday 20 January 1996; Ruthie Henshall from Monday 22 January to Saturday 10 August 1996; and finally Sonia Swaby from Monday 12 August 1996 through to Saturday 22 February 1998 when this production closed.


4th West End London Revival 2009 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Previewed 13 December 2008, Opened 14 January 2009, Closed 8 January 2011 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre

The original cast featured Rowan Atkinson as 'Fagin', Jodie Prenger as 'Nancy', Burn Gorman as 'Bill Sykes', Laurence Jeffcoate / Gwion Wyn-Jones / Harry Scott as 'Oliver', Eric Dibb-Fuller/ Ross McCormack / Robert Madge as 'Artful Dodger', Julius D’Silva as 'Mr Bumble', Wendy Ferguson as 'Widow Corney', Julian Bleach as 'Mr Sowerberry', and Julian Glover as 'Mr Brownlow', with Chris Bennett, Jay Bryce, Philip Catchpole, Mary Cormack, Hadrian Delacey, Tom Edden, Cara Elston, Susan Fay, Jenny Fitzpatrick, Lyndsey Gardiner, Louise Gold, Ian Jervis, Robert Kershaw, Sarah Lark, Tim Laurenti, Clare Rickard, David Roberts, Oliver Roll, Myra Sands, Charlotte Spencer, Hollie Taylor and Lynne Wilmot, along with Matthew Clark, Alison Dormer, Rebecca Loui and Spencer Stafford.

Directed by Rupert Goold, based on the Sam Mendes 1994 Palladium revival, with co-direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Paule Constable, and sound by Paul Groothuis.

Rowan Atkinson played the role of 'Fagin' up to Saturday 18 July 2009 (with Russ Abbot from Saturday 13 April to Monday 25 April 2009 - see note below); followed by Omid Djalili from Monday 20 July to Saturday 12 December 2009; Griff Rhys Jones from Monday 14 December 2009 to Saturday 12 June 2010; Russ Abbot returned from Monday 14 June to Saturday 4 December 2010; with Griff Rhys Jones returning from Monday 6 December 2010 through to Saturday 8 January 2011, when this production closed.

Unfortuantely, while Rowan Atkinson was on holiday at the end of March 2009 he sustained an indirect inguinal hernia, Russ Abbot filled in for two weeks before Rowan Atkinson was finally able to return on Monday 27 April 2009. Russ Abbot was then able to return to star within his own right in this production for a six month run the following year.

Jodie Prenger played the role of 'Nancy' up to Saturday 27 March 2010; followed by Kerry Ellis from Monday 29 March 2010 through to Saturday 8 January 2011, when this production closed.

During the production's entire run Tamsin Carroll was the 'alternate' 'Nancy', playing the role for one-or-two performances each week. Jodie Prenger returned to this production for two performances only on Saturday 13 November 2010 when she filled in due to Kerry Ellis having a prior commitment to perform at the Festival Of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

This production of the musical Oliver in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane promises to be even more spectacular than ever before as Cameron Mackintosh explains: "This time around, still based on Sam Mendes' 1994 Palladium original, the production is being directed by one of Britain's most exciting new directors, recent Olivier award-winner Rupert Goold. He, along with co-director and choreographer Matthew Bourne and designer Anthony Ward will be making full spectacular use of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane's majestic stage, which is almost twice the size of the Palladium. For this production I will be having a cast and orchestra of over 100."

"It's now near as dammit 50 years since Peter Coe's original production, and the show still works a treat. Lionel Bart's songs are pretty much unsinkable, and Cameron Mackintosh's giant cast - more than 80, not including the dog and its stunt double - set about them with gusto. This is a slickly reverential, rather than a mould-breaking, production... Goold's production is pacey and mobile without being fussy... You'll love it." The Sunday Times

"There is a strong sense that this production is something of an event not least because of the television talent show I'd Do Anything, which involved the viewers selecting the people to perform the parts of Nancy and Oliver... From the opening rendition of Food, Glorious Food - played out on a towering set of Mr Bumble's workhouse with more than 50 children and adults filling the stage - it is clear no expense has been spared, but, for all that, it is a production of pale pastel shades rather than the rich hues and passion of the film version... The two-and-a-half hours that Goold's revival runs for passes very slowly indeed. Part of the problem is that it has simply been choreographed to death." The Sunday Telegraph

"Rupert Goold's revival of Sam Mendes's lavish and exuberant 1994 production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! strikes me as being a bit Carry On Dickens. If there's an opportunity for the Victorian equivalent of a twanged bra strap, Goold finds it. Breasts feature prominently: Widow Corney's 'kittens' leave nothing to her chubby, would-be husband's imagination, and Nancy's practically hit her chin. When the mood darkens later down in the pub, with Nancy and her girls cheerfully flirting with customers, there's little doubt that 'Oom-pah-pah' is a euphemism for the oldest trade in the world and, as the disturbingly twisted reprise of It's A Fine Life suggests, it's anything but fun. Anthony Ward's spectacular designs, with platforms rising up to take us down to Fagin's den, and dark alleys opening up to glorious vistas of St Paul's, are picture-postcard perfect until Paule Constable's superb lighting conjures a smokiness and moodiness Whistler would have wanted to paint. Rowan Atkinson puts his own inimitable stamp on the part of Fagin, which is all the richer for the flashes of Mr Bean in his rubbery physicality, and of Blackadder in the eyerolling vanity... A marble-white-faced Burn Gorman plays Bill Sikes as a scary psychopath, but forgets that it's his gangster sex appeal that has Nancy in his thrall, not his cudgel. So it's not so surprising that there's nothing heartfelt about Jodie Prenger's raunchy, raven-haired, hard-as-nails Nancy. She fails to bring even a tiny tear to the eye with As Long As He Needs Me because he doesn't need her and she doesn't desire him. But then she doesn't show the remotest tenderness for the boys in Fagin's den - and Ross McCormack's sprightly Dodger and Harry Stott's endearing Oliver certainly deserve it. Lots to sing about, but I could have asked for more." The Mail on Sunday

The original cast for this revival production featured Rowan Atkinson as 'Fagin' and Jodie Prenger as 'Nancy'. Rowan Atkinson said: "In the 1980's I enjoyed doing a lot of West End theatre and since then have been distracted very much by Mr Bean and film making. I had been thinking for some time about returning to the stage and the idea of the role of 'Fagin', which has long intrigued me, (some time ago I even played the role in a school production), seemed like too good an opportunity to miss." The producer, Cameron Mackintosh said: "I'm thrilled that Rowan Atkinson has finally reviewed the situation and succumbed to his long-held ambition to play 'Fagin'. We have been discussing the possibility on and off for many years and to me this idea has always promised the perfect marriage of a brilliant mercurial role with a brilliant mercurial comic actor." Jodie Prenger was choosen to play the role of 'Nancy' via a public vote on the BBC television 'reality' show I'd Do Anything.

Unfortuantely, while Rowan Atkinson was on holiday at the end of March 2009 he sustained an indirect inguinal hernia. His doctors advised immediate surgery to avoid exacerbating the condition. They are confident that he will be well enough to return to the role of 'Fagin' in Oliver! on Monday 27 April 2009 following a three week recovery period. Rowan has been nursing the problem for a few weeks but it flared up badly whilst on a break with his family. He cut short his family holiday to fly back to have surgery immediately to speed up the recovery process. The condition, whilst neither serious nor dangerous, is extremely painful and prevents normal movement, making performing impossible. Cameron Mackintosh said: "Our sympathy goes out to Rowan and all our best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to the production. I regret the disappointment this will cause to many but I am delighted that Russ Abbot has so ably stepped into the breach. He is a consummate all-round performer and had a personal triumph in this role when I last produced the show in London and on tour." Russ Abbot is scheduled to play the role of 'Fagin' from 13 to 25 April 2009.

The musical Oliver! in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre previewed from 13 December 2008, opened on 14 January 2009 and closed on 8 January 2011.