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Originally opening in London in 1960 Oliver! moved to Broadway in 1963 running for 774 performances. Until recently for the production of Oliver! Bart was the only English composer to win a Tony for Best Musical.. Made into a classic world wide phenomenon by the film version in 1968 which unusually left the stage score fairly in tact by only cutting two songs Oliver has become a favourite the world over. Wonderful songs abound throughout the show from the rousing "Consider Yourself" to beautiful "Where Is Love" and "As Long As He Needs Me."
The stage orchestrations call for only 13 musicians and while adapting from the stage orchestrations John Owen Edwards for this JAY recording orchestrated to make use of the full symphonic orchestra incorporating the sumptuous sound of the film.
"What we have ended up with therefore is a scaled up version of the original theatre score rather than a scaled down version of the film" - John Owen Edwards.
Bringing a cast together to perform such a well known show as Oliver! is often difficult as performers need to bring innovation and freshness to each role. Julian Forsythe (Fagin) and Ifran Ahmad (The Artful Dodger) had recently played their roles on the London stage but gave the sort of brilliant performances that make a show or recording memorable they positively shine in this Recording.
Convincing the world renowned operatic dramatic soprano Josephine Barstowe to take on the role of Nancy almost proved too much but eventually she agreed and brought the drama and interpretation required to get under the skin of the role. With stars throughout the rest of the cast in the including Stuart Kale Sheila Hancock and Richard van Allan as a chillingly powerful Bill Sykes JAY can certainly boast one of the most stellar casts ever assembled for a performance of Oliver!.