Wednesday, June 30, 2010

50 years ago: Oliver! opened in London


Lionel Bart (music & lyrics)

The Musical

Opened on Broadway: January 6, 1963

Number of Performances: 774

Opened at London’s West End: June 30, 1960

Number of Performances: 2618

Movie Release: October 5, 1968

Cast Album

Charted: November 3, 1962

Peak: 4 US

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US

Genre: show tunes


Charted: November 23, 1968

Peak: 20 US, 4 UK

Sales (in millions): 0.5 million

Genre: show tunes

Songs on London Cast Album:

  1. Food Glorious Food
  2. Oliver!
  3. I Shall Scream
  4. Boy for Sale
  5. That’s Your Funeral
  6. Where Is Love?
  7. Consider Yourself
  8. You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket Or Two
  9. It’s a Fine Life
  10. Be Back Soon
  11. Oom - Pah
  12. My Name
  13. As Long As He Needs Me
  14. I’d Do Anything
  15. Who Will Buy?
  16. Reviewing the Situation
  17. Oliver! (Reprise)
  18. As Long As He Needs Me (Reprise)
  19. Reviewing the Situation (Reprise)
  20. Finale: Food Glorious Food / Consider Yourself / I’d Do Anything

Songs on Soundtrack:

Song Title (Performers) [time]

  1. Overture
  2. Food, Glorious Food / Oliver!
  3. Boy for Sale
  4. Where Is Love?
  5. You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket Or Two
  6. Consider Yourself
  7. I’d Do Anything
  8. Be Back Soon
  9. As Long As He Needs Me
  10. Who Will Buy?
  11. Reviewing the Situation
  12. Oom-Pah-Pah
  13. Finale (Where Is Love?/Consider Yourself)

Singles/Hit Songs:

These were covers of songs from this musical which became hits:

  • ”As Long As He Needs Me” – Shirley Bassey (#2 UK, 1960)


4.284 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

This musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was quite a phenomenon in its day, beginning as a modest, fringe-type production in London and becoming an international smash hit. The show boasted a melodic score by composer-lyricist-librettist Lionel Bart, innovative sets by Sean Kenny, fluid direction by Peter Coe, and orchestrations and arrangements that were simple, clear, and direct.” CA

About the London Cast Album:

“On this cast recording, the now-legendary performance of Ron Moody as Fagin is vibrant and unforgettable. Georgia Brown makes the part of Nancy her own; her husky voice throbs with emotion, and she is entirely believable as a woman of the Victorian underworld. Her rendition of As Long as He Needs Me is definitive. Also excellent are Keith Hamshere as Oliver and Martin Horsey as the Artful Dodger.” CA

About the Broadway Cast Album:

“Although Clive Revill gives a fine performance as Fagin, his characterization isn’t as colorful and eccentric as that of Ron Moody of the original London cast. But this Broadway album does have Georgia Brown recreating her landmark role of Nancy, as powerfully as ever. Bruce Prochnik sings well as Oliver, Michael Goodman is a fine Artful Dodger, and Willoughby Goddard is well cast as Mr. Bumble. With musical director Donald Pippin breathing new life into the score, the tempi are brighter than on the London album, although the earlier effort is fresher on the whole and more authentic in atmosphere. RCA’s ‘Living Stereo’ sound is superior. An interesting note is that this recording was made in Los Angeles, where the show’s pre-Broadway tour began; by the time the production reached New York, Michael Goodman had been replaced as the Artful Dodger by David Jones, who went on to become famous as one of The Monkees.” CA

About the Soundtrack:

“Earning six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film version of Oliver! was masterfully directed by Sir Carol Reed, with the grand score given a bigger-than-big-movie-musical treatment. Under the direction of maestro Johnny Green, the orchestrations and choral arrangements heard on the soundtrack recording are layered with counterpoint, but the overall effect is appropriate to the alternating opulence and squalor of the story’s various settings. Lionel Bart’s songs stand up beautifully to the elaborate scoring, and the performances are as vivid as the orchestrations. At the forefront is Ron Moody, who outdoes his own fine work as Fagin on the original London cast album. Equally excellent is Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger; with his charming Cockney accent, he offers the best account of the role on record. Shani Wallis sings with great warmth and conviction as Nancy, and Harry Secombe as Mr. Bumble displays a superb tenor that elevates the title song and Boy for Sale to classic level. The one off-note is Kathe Green (daughter of Johnny), who sounds a bit phony and overly sweet in her dubbing of Oliver’s songs for Mark Lester.” CA

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 12/24/2021.

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