In the star-studded opening night audience, there was a strong contingent from I’d Do Anything - including Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Denise Van Outen and numerous would-be Nancys – who loudly cheered Prenger at the curtain call and at the close of her big solo, “As Long as He Needs Me”.
The entire 80-strong company received a standing ovation, with especially thunderous applause for Atkinson, who has made a rare stage appearance – and his musical debut – to take on Fagin, a part Mackintosh has been imploring him to play for 15 years. And both the audience and the company applauded the show’s late creator, a portrait of whom was unfurled as a backdrop. Lionel Bart passed away in 1999; this is the first major revival of his classic 1960 musical without his involvement.
Oliver! is based on Charles Dickens’ literary classic Oliver Twist and, beyond its theatre fanbase, found legions of fans from the 1968 film version. The score includes now-famous songs including “Consider Yourself”, “It’s a Fine Life”, “As Long as He Needs Me”, “Oom-pah-pah”, “Food, Glorious Food”, “I’d Do Anything” and the title song.
TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF OLIVER!'s 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.
For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for red-carpet arrivals, curtain call and backstage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and at the Waldorf for the post-show party where the company were joined by first-night guests such as Terry Wogan, Graham Norton, Melvyn Bragg, Elaine Paige, Victor Spinetti, Dave Clark, Patrick Mower, Gillian Lynne, Barbara Windsor, Anthony Andrews, Anneka Rice, Michael Jibson, Caroline Sheen, Craig Revel Horwood, David Ian, Tamzin Outhwaite, Isla Blair, Kate Fleetwood, I’d Do Anything contestants including Rachel Tucker, Niamh Perry, Francesca Jackson and Amy Booth-Steel, Britain’s Got Talent’s George Sampson and Faryl Smith, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, McFly’s Tom Fletcher, record producer Lisa Voice and, last but not least, the one-time screen Oliver Mark Lester.
The musical is directed by Rupert Goold, based on Sam Mendes’ 1994 staging at the London Palladium. Goold is joined by two key members of Mendes’ original creative team, Matthew Bourne, who co-directs and choreographs the new outing, and set designer Anthony Ward. Lighting is by Paule Constable, sound by Paul Groothuis, orchestrations by William D Brohn and musical supervision by Martin Koch. Mendes’ production ran for 1,366 performances from December 1994 to February 1998 at the Palladium, where it grossed more than £40 million.
Harry Stott, Gwion Jones and Laurence Jeffcoate - chosen by Mackintosh and I’d Do Anything judge Andrew Lloyd Webber as part of the TV series - alternate in the title role, while Ross McCormack, Eric Dibb Fuller and Robert Madge alternate as the Artful Dodger. (Stott and McCormack played the roles on opening night.) The cast also features Julian Glover as Mr Brownlow, Julian Bleach as Mr Sowerberry/Dr Grimwig, Louise Gold as Mrs Sowerberry/Mrs Bedwin, Julius D'Silva as Mr Bumble, Wendy Ferguson as Widow Corney and Tamsin Carroll as the alternate Nancy. The stage production is presented by Mackintosh in association with the Southbrook Group Limited.
- by Terri Paddock