Oliver! will open in London at the end of 2024

Cameron Mackintosh has announced that his new co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre of Lionel Bart’s iconic musical, Oliver!, which he has fully reconceived with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne, will open in London at the end of the year.

Cameron Mackintosh & Lionel Bart 1994 Photo Mike Lawn.
Cameron Mackintosh & Lionel Bart 1994 Photo Mike Lawn.

Oliver! will begin performances at Gielgud Theatre on Saturday 14 December 2024. Priority booking begins on Friday 26 April – sign up at www.oliverthemusical.com with tickets on general sale from Monday 29 April. The production runs at Chichester Festival Theatre from 8 July to 7 September.

The cast includes Simon Lipkin (Guys and Dolls, Avenue Q) as Fagin, Shanay Holmes (Miss Saigon, The Bodyguard) as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell (Henry VI, Wicked) as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins (Les Misérables, BBC’s Dodger) as the Artful Dodger and Philip Franks (The Rocky Horror Show, Witness for the Prosecution) as Mr Brownlow.

Cameron Mackintosh commented: “Oliver! has been part of my life as actor, stage manager and producer since I first saw it as a schoolboy in 1960, shortly after it opened and began to take the world by storm on stage and screen. The original production design was revolutionary and changed the musical theatre and my career forever.

Matthew Bourne and I, alongside Sam Mendes, first reinvented Lionel Bart’s masterpiece in 1994 with a huge production at the London Palladium which we restaged in an even grander way in 2009 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Now 15 years later, having staged the largest production of Oliver! ever, we want to return to the scale of the brilliant original with a more intimate production, thrillingly designed by Lez Brotherston, which in a sweepingly imaginative way conjures up Dickensian London.

Lionel’s irresistible adaptation of Dickens’ classic story, with its legendary score packed with ‘tunes glorious tunes’ will, we hope, have audiences ‘considering themselves our mate’ when we open at London’s Gielgud Theatre this December with a terrific cast, following a summer season at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Matthew Bourne commented: “In 1994, I first worked, as a choreographer, with Cameron Mackintosh on Lionel Bart’s legendary musical Oliver! – the spectacular Palladium revival, directed by Sam Mendes – it launched a collaboration and friendship that has become one of the most important of my career. Nearly 30 years on I’m delighted that Cameron has invited me to direct my first musical and my lifelong relationship with Oliver! continues!

Along with my regular collaborators Lez Brotherston and Paule Constable, we are taking it back to its roots, inspired by the groundbreaking “poor theatre” designs of Sean Kenny – who revolutionised the modern musical along with Lionel and his Joan Littlewood Theatre Workshop influences. As an East-End Londoner myself l’ve always felt a great affinity with this show – sang all the songs in amateur shows as a kid with my brother and was a regular at Theatre Royal Stratford East as a teenager, even seeing Joan and Lionel in the bar there on several occasions.

I was lucky enough to work closely with Lionel on the 1994 revival which was an absolute thrill (though in a recently unearthed TV interview when asked about the production he tells the interviewer “Some days I wanted to fire the lot of em”!!). But I loved him a lot (and I think he liked me!) and hope to do him and Oliver! proud in 2024.

Freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver! tells the story of the orphaned Oliver Twist, who escapes the harsh Victorian workhouse and takes refuge in London’s murky underworld with the wily gang leader Fagin and his team of resourceful pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger. He finds a friend in the kind-hearted Nancy and when he’ s wrongly arrested for stealing, Oliver meets an unexpected saviour; but is happiness truly within his grasp?

With a sensational score, including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I’d Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah, As Long As He Needs Me and many more, the Olivier, Tony and Oscar-winning masterpiece vividly brings to life Dickens’ ever-popular story of the boy who asked for more.

Matthew Bourne is internationally renowned for reinventing classics including Swan Lake and Edward Scissorhands for his company New Adventures, as well as his Olivier Award-winning choreography for My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins (which he co-directed and also earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography) and his recent acclaimed direction and musical staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends. The stellar creative team includes designer Lez Brotherston (Fiddler on the Roof, Me and My Girl, Flowers for Mrs Harris).

Produced and revised by Cameron Mackintosh, Oliver! is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne and co-directed by Jean-Pierre van der Spuy. Designed by Lez Brotherston, lighting design is by Paule Constable and Ben Jacobs, sound design by Adam Fisher, video design by George Reeve, original orchestrations by William David Brohn adapted by Stephen Metcalfe; music supervision is by Graham Hurman.

Oliver! will run at Chichester Festival Theatre this summer, with performances from Monday 8 July – Saturday 7 September.

Oliver! is a Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre production.

OLIVER! | London Listings Info
Gielgud Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR

Oliver!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
Revised by Cameron Mackintosh
Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne
Co-director Jean-Pierre van der Spuy
Designer Lez Brotherston
Musical supervisor and conductor Graham Hurman
Lighting designers Paule Constable and Ben Jacobs
Sound designer Adam Fisher
Video designer George Reeve
Original orchestrations William David Brohn
Orchestral adaptation Stephen Metcalfe
Choreographic associates Etta Murfitt and Sam Archer
Casting directors Felicity French CDG and Paul Wooller CDG
Children’s casting director Verity Naughton CDG

Cast
Fagin Simon Lipkin
Nancy Shanay Holmes
Bill Sikes Aaron Sidwell
The Artful Dodger Billy Jenkins
Mr Brownlow Philip Franks
Further cast to be announced.

Dates
Performances from Saturday 14 December 2024
Currently booking until Sunday 6 April 2025
Priority booking begins on Friday 26 April 2024 – sign-up at www.oliverthemusical.com

Social Media
All platforms: @Oliveronstage
Chichester Festival Theatre
Oliver! will run at Chichester Festival Theatre from Monday 8 July – Saturday 7 September 2024

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