The annual Broadway Re-Imagined series by Hennepin Theatre Trust and conjoined with Theater Latte Da has revived Oliver!, the Lionel Bart musical based on Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist. This boisterous production uses steampunk design motifs (set design by Rick Polenek) to reflect the gritty underworld Dickens had in mind.
That said, director Peter Rothstein has made sure it’s family friendly but you still get the sociopolitical point. The show moves with a nice velocity with terrific musical moments directed by Denise Prosek. Michael Matthew Ferrell’s choreography is filled with vibrant, irrepressible working class life.
Two youngsters give fine performances in the lead roles: Nate Turcotte as Oliver and Alec Fisher as the Artful Dodger. Bradley Greenwald is deliciously slippery as Fagin, a man who gives young boys a roof over their head by sending them out on the streets by day to pick pockets for him. Lauren Davis gives a moving performance as Nancy, a woman who suffers the brunt of poverty and misogyny.
The division between rich and poor is made quite clear and the production is the best Broadway Re-imagined production yet. It closes soon. There are also many boys in the production from local communities who are part of the ensemble and they bring joyous power to the event.
Through Mar. 1
Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Av., Mpls