The two most emotional moments in Oliver! could not have been more different. The first was in the middle of “Consider Yourself”. The stage is filled to the brim with onlookers as dancers take center stage and twirl. Their audience cheers them on, and one cannot help but smile. The other most powerful event is a tragic death scene. Both of these are punctuated by an orchestra of three musicians, a new addition to STE theater productions that completely transforms the experience, playing delicately as Oliver Twist wakes up in the morning and seeming much larger than it really is during large musical numbers such as “Oom Pah Pah” and “It’s a Fine Life”.
The idea of having a live orchestra came from Lauren Pastorek, who made her STE debut as director with this production. Mrs. Pastorek has replaced Noelle Laufer as director of the theater department, and, although Mrs. Laufer’s direction will be missed, with Oliver!, Mrs. Pastorek has made it abundantly clear that shows will continue to be sold out and that the theater will keep its place as a center for student life on campus.
Moreover, Oliver! was filled with memorable performances. Miranda Graves’s tragic Nancy, James Finley’s terrifying Bill Sykes, and Chris Meyer’s and Sophia Fox’s flirting Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney come to mind; however, these are but a few examples of the great acting of this production. The cast and crew are about fifty members strong, and at times, especially in street scenes, there is so much going that one feels that watching it more than once would reveal exchanges between actors or small things that one had not seen before. The set, lighting, and music add to the magic of the show and allow the audience to feel immersed in the story.
All in all, by the end of this week’s performances, all we can say to the cast and crew is “Cheerio! But be back soon!”
Photo Creditr to Marilia Sampiao