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Lyric Theatre opens 49th season with ‘Oliver!'
In the world of the musical theater, it's not unusual to have one person composing the music, another writing the lyrics and a third creating the book. It's a fine example of the collaborative nature of theater, but getting three people to share the same vision of the show can be a challenge.
Still, the musical theater boasts many classics whose book, music and lyrics were created by three craftsmen. Among the many examples are “West Side Story, “Gypsy,” “The Sound of Music,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “A Chorus Line” and “Annie.”
Far rarer, though, are those shows in which one person is responsible for music, lyrics and book. That's a fairly exclusive group that includes “The Music Man” (Meredith Willson), “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (Rupert Holmes) and “The Most Happy Fella” (Frank Loesser).
The Tony Award-winning musical “Oliver!” also belongs in that rarefied group. Based on Charles Dickens' novel “Oliver Twist,” this popular musical, a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, features book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart.
Lyric Theatre will open its 49th season with this Tony Award winner, the company's fourth outing with the show. Lyric artistic director Michael Baron will direct, Ashley Wells will choreograph and Zak Sandler will serve as music director.
Taking leading roles are Dirk Lumbard as the miserly Fagin and Sam Brown as Oliver. The two recently took a break from rehearsals to talk about the important relationship that exists between their characters.
“Oliver is an interesting character to play because his curiosity really leads him through the story,” said Brown, an 11-year old student who will study drama this fall at the Classen School of Advanced Studies.