by Jody Key – Managing Editor — June 10, 2019
Atlanta Lyric theater has done it again with their latest production of a classic musical — OLIVER! This is a show baby-boomers loved, gen x cut their teeth on, and a personal favorite that is near and dear to my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with a new generation of young theater lovers who came along with me to cheer on their friends in the cast, which is the endearing beauty of Oliver –it’s a show for young and old to enjoy.
This musical version of the Charles Dicken’s classic Oliver Twist premiered in London’s West End in 1960, and stood the test of time as it highlights issues of class warfare that, while not as pronounced, are still prevalent in these times. This story highlights the life of the downtrodden in all its glorious and raw aspects, and has everything a good story needs — heroes, villains, and everyone in between. The Lyric has done a fantastic job casting some of the ATLs best and most favorite actors as well as introducing us to some newcomers to keep our eyes on in the future.
Director Heidi Cline McKerley along with her creative team captured the essence of 19th century London with an impressive set by scenic designer Jennifer Ivey and beautiful costumes by Nicole Clockel.
Jeff McKerley’s portrayal of Fagin, the leader of a band of young pickpockets brought this favorite character to life with flair and style. His comedic timing is impeccable, and he once again proves why he’s one of the ATLs most sought after actors.
Jennifer Alice Acker as Nancy lights up the stage in her Lyric Debut with her rich, beautiful vocals and impressive acting ability. She’s a very likable Nancy, which is just what the part calls for.
Brian Kurlander plays Bill Sykes, the villian audiences love to hate. He’s such a versatile actor, and does an excellent job with this character.
Vinny Montague is the perfect choice for Oliver, and wows audiences with his vocal abilities in “Where is Love”. He’s also cute as a button and has the dancing and acting abilities to accompany his voice.
Other Key-noteworthy performances included Daniel Cook as Mr. Bumble, newcomer Jaymyria Etienne as Widow Corney, Candy McClellen as Mrs. Sowberry, Colby Howell as Artful Dodger, and Karah Adams in the ensemble as one of the littlest orphans/pickpockets.
OLIVER! is one of the best musicals playing in the ATL at this time, and plays until June 23rd. Tickets can be purchased at http://atlantalyrictheatre.com/show/oliver/