Show Review: CYT West Palm Beach’s Oliver Cast ‘Loud and Strong’

A couple weeks ago, posted a show review of CYT West Palm Beach’s Fall production of “Oliver.”

Here is a selection from the review:

“In November, I had the opportunity to see a children’s production of Oliver put on by Christian Youth Theatre of West Palm Beach. For those of you that may not be familiar with the story of Oliver, here’s a quick and dirty summary: Oliver is a young lad of 8 or 9 years who lives in an orphanage with other children around his age. After being mistreated and abused, he runs away from the home and makes his way to London. There he meets the Artful Dodger, Fagin, and his gang of pickpockets. Of course, Oliver gets caught, intrigue and hilarity ensue, and eventually Oliver is reunited with his mother’s sister to live in the lap of luxury and become a proper English gentleman.

The CYT production stuck very close to the story, except that instead of Oliver being played by an English lad of 8 or 9 years, Oliver was played by Indian lass of 8 or 9 years. She was fantastic.

As the lights dimmed and the overture began, I looked around and realized that these kids were performing to a packed house. When the lights went up and the music stopped, I expected to hear stuttering and stammering, the usual opening night jitters. My expectations were dashed because their voices came out loud and strong.

During the intermission, I spoke with the director, Rachel Sharpe, who told me that the kids had rehearsed for nine weeks straight, and out of a cast of 41, maybe 10 kids had been in other shows. She was amazed at the transformation so many of the kids had made in such a short time. In nine weeks they learned lines, lyrics, and choreography. They stayed up late and gave up soccer practice to paint scenery. It’s true that not all of them will be the next Idina Menzel or Joel Grey, but for that short span of time they had joy. And coming close after talent, joy is the second thing you need to succeed in theatre.”

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