OFA show puts ‘Twist’ on Dickens classic

Front row: Eliana Dwyer and Rozalyn Dwyer. Second row: Madison Miller, Mia LaBella, Gabriella Ott, Macy Murdock, Christopher Rodriguez, Caroline Silver (Canton), Ava Rutherford (Waddington), Delia Payne, Evelyn Davis, and Jocelyn Lazaro (Lisbon). Third row: Christopher Dwyer, Stephen Chambers, Richard O’Donnell, Krista Kelly (Rensselaer Falls) and Angela Dwyer.

OGDENSBURG — St. John’s Conservatory Theater has announced the cast for its upcoming performance of the musical adapting Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”

Simply titled “Twist” and starring 14-year-old Caroline Silver, Canton, as Olivia and 12-year-old Christopher Rodriguez, Ogdensburg, as the Artful Dodger, this “twist” on the classic runs July 13 to 22 at Ogdensburg Free Academy’s George Hall Auditorium.

The cast also features Macy Murdock as Nelly Claypole, Ava Rutherford, Waddington, as Agnes Brownlow, Christopher Dwyer as Mr. Bumble/Bill Sikes, Stephen Chambers as Undertaker Sowerberry, Samantha Holt as Mrs. Sowerberry, writer/composer Richard O’Donnell as Fagin, Krista Kelly,Rensselaer Falls, as Mrs. Brownlow, and Angela Dwyer as Mrs. Bumble/Nancy Sikes.

The street urchins include Madison Hibbard as Mary, Eliana Dwyer as Annie and Rozalyn Dwyer as Lizzy, Madison Miller as Cager, Mia LaBella as Newt, Gabriella Ott as Napper, Delia Payne as Hamstring, Evelyn Davis as Scraps, and Jocelyn Lazaro, Lisbon, as Octavia.

“The central theme of ‘Twist’ is motherhood,” said playwright/director O’Donnell. “Charles Dickens was certainly writing about the brutality of Victorian street-life and we represent that in this production, but in our version, the women play all the vital characters. Each of them, of course, strongly influenced by their relationship with the young Olivia. We have her mother Agnes (Rutherford), who passed in childbirth only to return as Olivia’s guardian angel, Nancy (Angela Dwyer), a dishonest but affectionate barmaid who desires to abandon her wicked ways to serve as Olivia’s surrogate mother, and the widow Mrs. Brownlow (Kelly), Olivia’s real grandmother, who desires to raise her as well. In the end, they all have tough decisions to make.”

“Twist” principal creative staff includes producing artistic director Mr. O’Donnell, musical director and choreographer Angela Conzone Dwyer, vocal arranger and digital orchestrator Ryan C. McNally (an OFA graduate), scene and prop designer Stephen Chambers, costume and makeup designer Karen Fischbeck, senior costumer Heron Hetzler, technical director and production coordinator Christopher Dwyer and props master Tonya Ott. Collectively they have more than five decades of professional theatrical and academic experience including regional, stock, bus and truck, off-off-Broadway, off-Broadway and Broadway stages.

St. John’s Conservatory Theater offers the Ogdensburg community three seasonal (winter, summer, and fall) all-original musicals. The productions are fully staged, costumed, and orchestrated (the cast sing karaoke-style to a studio-produced score) and include an all-original book, music and lyrics.

St. John’s Conservatory Theater is a non-profit company of actors, artisans and artists. It is its vision to create educational, inspirational, and professional opportunities for local talent of all ages while presenting original musicals based on literature and legend.

For more information,visit St. John’s Conservatory Theater’s Facebook page at facebook.com/stjohnsconservatorytheater

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