Charles Dickens' tale of Oliver Twist, the boy who wanted more gruel (and a better life), is known to millions as Lionel Bart's musical adaptation, Oliver!
First staged in the early sixties, a 1968 movie version lodged Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger and Fagin into popular culture. More than forty years on, anyone cast as Fagin is inevitably compared to Ron Moody's film Fagin.
The musical has been revived in the West End and on Broadway on numerous occasions and the recently closed London 2009 revival production is going on an extensive national tour from late 2011 to 2013. There will be hundreds of performances across the UK, starting at Cardiff's Millennium Centre on 2nd December, until 21st January, before the tour moves to Manchester's Palace, then Birmingham, Southampton, Edinburgh and Norwich. Tickets will be available from September 2011 for a series of further tour dates.
The 2009 production featured Rowan Atkinson as Fagin, succeeded by Russ Abbott, Omid Djalili, and Griff Rhys Jones, who had the iconic role until the show closed in January 2011 to make way for Shrek the Musical. I'm not sure we'll still be talking about Shrek in 40 years but Oliver! had a good run.
The London production was also famous for casting Jodie Prenger as Nancy after she won the BBC1 show I'd Do Anything. Luckily for Miss Prenger, the 'anything' mostly comprised singing, acting and dancing at which she excelled. Jodie Prenger's Nancy saw off a number of Fagins before established West End star Kerry Ellis took up the role in 2010.
The touring production will see Neil Morrissey play Fagin until April, when Brian Conley takes over. No word on other roles yet.
Tickets for Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Edinburgh are on sale now, generally priced £20 to £50. Tickets for Norwich (July/August 2012) are available from 3rd June 2011.
Still want more?