Oliver! takes NAT stage Dec. 1

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11648277844395.jpg’, ‘Image courtesy of www.newamericantheater.com’, ‘Fifth-grader Michael Neuman will play the orphan Oliver in New American Theater’s production of Oliver!.‘);

Full-scale musical about young, impressionable orphan to run through the end of December

The musical Oliver!, which takes the New American Theater (NAT) stage Dec. 1, is a must-see for families this holiday season.

The naiveté and pouty eyes of the sweet, young Oliver have enthralled theater audiences for more than 45 years, and literary fans since 1838. The songs and lines have become part of our culture, with any number of situations warranting the phrase, “Please, sir, can I have some more?” Or the hook, “Consider yourself, at home. Consider yourself, part of the family.”

NAT offers Oliver! for five weeks, running the entire month of December. Christy Montour-Larson, who last directed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at NAT in 2004, directs this production.

Oliver! is a full-scale musical filled with memorable songs and those irresistible little hooligans. No matter your age, or the ages of your kids…the whole family will enjoy this show, filled with memorable songs like “Consider Yourself,” “Food, Glorious Food,” and “As Long as He Needs Me.”

Follow the young, impressionable orphan Oliver as he navigates his harsh surroundings and encounters characters like Fagin and the Artful Dodger.

Josh Burton plays Fagin, making his 18th stage appearance at NAT, which includes other performances such as Touchstone in As You Like It, Scrooge in Christmas Carol, Robert in Proof and Nick in The Guys. He was seen on Broadway in The Sunshine Boys and on TV with The Doctors and The Guiding Light. Burton is founding artistic director of New Court Theatre in Beloit, Wis.

Nat Klaung, a seventh grader at West Middle School, plays the Artful Dodger. Nat has been involved in theater since second grade, when he took his very first acting class at New American Theater.

Michael Neuman is a fifth grader with the huge job of playing Oliver. But big roles are nothing new to Michael. His past appearances include Winthrop in The Music Man at the Fireside Theatre, Gavroche in Les Miserables with Yknot, Tiny Tim in Christmas Carol at NAT and, most recently, Mowgli in Jungle Book with CTP.

Student matinees are sold out, bringing kids in from all over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Every season, NAT hosts more than 3,000 kids at student matinee performances. Live theater is a vital supplement to core curriculum, and gives students an up-close and personal experience with literature.

Oliver! opens at 8 p.m., Dec. 1, with sneak preview Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Call the NAT Box Office for tickets at 964-6282. For more information, visit www.newamericantheater.com.

In other NAT news, the theater’s annual “Night of Stars” fund-raiser at the Ramada Inn is set for March 9, 2007, with the theme “Timeless Elegance.”

From the Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2006, issue

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