Fagins past and present gathered at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane last night to mark the 50th anniversary of Lionel Bart's Oliver!.

The guest of honour was Ron Moody, who created the role of Fagin for the show's West End premiere when it opened at the New Theatre (now the Noel Coward) on 30 June 1960 and later in the seminal 1968 film version.

Moody, now 86, took to the stage after the performance to give a spirited rendition of some of Fagin's most famous lines. The veteran actor received a rapturous reception, and was joined on stage by current Fagin Russ Abbot (who also has a long association with the role) and afterwards by Rowan Atkinson, who originated the role in Rupert Goold's current revival.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE OLIVER! ANNIVERSARY PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.


Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! opened, with the West End’s largest-ever advance of £15 million, on 14 January 2009 (previews from 12 December). It recently announced that it will close on 8 January 2011.

Based on Charles Dickens’ literary classic Oliver Twist and, beyond its theatre fanbase, Lionel Bart’s musical 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.

The current revival 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.

The current cast features Kerry Ellis (as Nancy), Russ Abbot (Fagin), Stephen Moore (as Mr Brownlow), Christian Patterson (Mr Bumble), Claire Machin (Widow Corney), Jason Morell (Mr Sowerberry/Dr Grimwig) and Louise Gold (Mrs Sowerberry/Mrs Bedwin) as well as teams of alternating child stars.