Oliver! Review

The annual showing of Oliver!

February 28, 2023

February 1st through the 4th, San Dimas High School Drama hosted their annual musical, Oliver!, for the 2022-2023 school year. San Dimas High School students could preview the musical in their English classes on January 31st. This play consists of kids between the ages of K-12, which also gives the main character role to a nine-year-old and ten-year-old within all of the four days of casting. This musical has the plot of an orphan who wants more than he is given, while everyone else wants less for him.

For Oliver!, two acts split the play into different segments. The first section is the rising action, the process of how Oliver is lost, trying to find himself, and trying to discover the person that he is meant to be. The second part is when Oliver reclaims the life he did not get from previous years in the orphanage.

During the first act of the musical, the children lined up and sang together to start the show. There were a total of 30-40 kids in the show together that came from local elementary schools. The beginning part of the musical is where the main character, Oliver, is first presented to the audience.

Sophomore Allison Eicher, stage manager, says that “I enjoyed the first scene, but it was difficult considering all the kids were elementary schoolers or even preschoolers. They had to wait out in the lobby of the BCA and were pretty noisy during rehearsals. Once it got to the actual show dates though, they stepped up and stayed quiet. It ended up looking good with how they entered.”

During this part, Oliver asked the owner of the orphanage for more food, and in response, the guy reacts hysterically. This starts Oliver’s journey of being passed from place to place. During this journey, he is sold to a colleague of the orphanage’s owner. The first place treated him as a servant and he was returned within a day of work. 

This section has numerous set changes to go from set to set. These scenes were nicely placed and followed by the cast. The musical numbers appeared to be well rehearsed and brought life to the story. The cast didn’t miss a beat, figuratively and literally. 

Eicher continues to say, “We mapped out each scene and assigned every stage crew member to a different part of the set. This way when there was a set change, everyone knew what they were supposed to take so no mistakes were made”.

After Oliver is passed from place to place he finds himself in a position where he learns more about who he is, but soon finds out that the place that he found himself in was driven by theft. From there on everyone is after Oliver, they want to find him due to the troubles they think he could cause to the people around him. 

From there the second act starts, this is the start of a different aspect of Oliver’s life. He meets better people and tries to fix the person he was before, but not many people want that for him. This act incorporates many emotional appeals because of the deaths that occur in such a small time. The emotions and effects that each character have to be thorough and direct to ensure tension on the stage and in the audience. Junior Steve Moreno, who plays Bill Sikes, says, “This character was so hard for me to play, if you know me personally then you’d know that I am not a violent person whatsoever and very subtle, but my character, Bill Sikes, is so openly violent and hateful that in the beginning rehearsals, it was very hard for me to stay in character or focused.”

To end the play, Oliver is sent off with his grandfather, a lost relative of his. The cast then lined up for their annual closing ceremony. Each member was brought to the front of the stage, ending with Oliver being the last one to appear. This musical is showcased by San Dimas High School Drama every year, along with other musicals and plays. 

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