(Davis) Gaines charms as Fagin, quite Vaudevillian in his enjoyment of Fagin’s ill-gotten gains (accompanied by klezmer-like music, beautifully played under music director Ryan O’Connell’s baton). (Cayman) Ilika has a massive belt, but her Nancy also commands our interest, providing a teachable point for children in the audience. (Kenny) Landmon is pure darkness as Sykes.
I try to keep from gushing in this column, I do try keep a critical eye but let me say that the voices throughout the entire production are simply spectacular. As a theatre professional, I have lost count of how many productions of “Oliver!” I have seen, but after seeing Musical Theatre West’s production, I feel like I haven’t seen it until now.
Lionel Bart’s Oliver! is back in town in its first major L.A. production in over ten years and what a joy it is to re-experience (or to discover for the first time) Broadway’s Greatest Dickens Musical at Long Beach’s Musical Theatre West. … MTW favorite Gaines milks every Fagin moment to piquantly crafty effect … Seattle star Ilika gives Nancy abundant allure and the most powerful alto pipes in town. … Oliver! may be a nearing seventy years of age, but oh what a glorious musical it remains to this day.