Wanted: Orphans, pickpockets and miscreants

Published 9:56 pm Monday, January 11, 2010

People young and old have read Charles Dickens’ famous novel, “Oliver Twist.”

The story of Oliver, the trademark Dickens orphan who asked for more food in the workhouse cafeteria and later fell in with a group of pickpockets, has been adapted for the stage and screen and has introduced numerous people to Oliver’s plight.

Now, “Oliver!” the musical is coming to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts March 12-14. The musical will be produced by the SCCA Community Players, the community theater project at the center. Auditions for the musical will be held Jan. 16-17 this week at the center.

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“Who doesn’t like an uplifting story on an orphan who finds a family?” said SCCA director Paul Lasakow. “It’s one of the classic family musicals. It has lots of kids, good adult roles, a familiar story. It’s a good draw and it’s a good show.”

Last year, hundreds of children and adults showed up to audition for “Peter Pan,” the center’s first in-house production. The show drew large crowds for four shows.

“Oliver!” will feature about 25 roles, Lasakow said.

“We’re looking for people from 8 to 88,” Lasakow said, adding he hopes to have a cast that is diverse along gender, racial and generational lines.

For Oliver, one of the main roles, producers are looking for a girl or a boy who appears about 9 years old and sings soprano, Lasakow said.

The person cast as Nancy will be a woman in her 20s with a strong alto. Fagin, another major role, will be a baritone man age 50-75. The Artful Dodger will be a soprano or tenor, age 12-15. Bill Sykes, the villain, will be a baritone age 30-50.

A total of 12 minor roles are available for men and women of all ages. In addition, several sopranos and tenors ages 8-16 will be cast as workhouse children and Fagin’s gang.

People auditioning for the performance should come with something prepared to sing, and also bring a CD backtrack or sheet music for the accompanist. They also could sing a cappella.

“They should dress comfortably, because we’ll do a little bit of movement,” Lasakow said. “They may be asked to read.”

Auditions will be held at the center, 110 W. Finney Ave., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. Those auditioning should bring a recent photograph of themselves. People who want to help in costumes, props, makeup, backstage work and other supportive functions are welcome.

Call 923-0003 for more information.