Wolcott, Oliver, 1726-97, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. South Windsor (then in Windsor), Conn.; son of Roger Wolcott. He fought in King George's War, and upon his return to Connecticut he entered a legal and public career. Wolcott held several judicial posts and in 1775 was named a Native American commissioner to obtain the neutrality of the Iroquois in the conflict with Great Britain. He was a general in the Saratoga campaign and a prominent figure in Connecticut politics as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1775-78, 1780-84), lieutenant governor (1786-96), and governor (1796-97).
Wolcott, Oliver, 1760-1833, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (1795-1800), b. Litchfield, Conn; son of Oliver Wolcott. Admitted to the bar in 1781, he served as Connecticut comptroller (1788-89), auditor of the U.S. treasury (1789-91), and U.S. comptroller (1791-95). A Federalist and loyal follower of Alexander Hamilton, he succeeded Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury and was bitterly, but unfairly, attacked by Republicans for misappropriating funds. Wolcott left the Federalist party during the War of 1812, and was elected (1817) governor of Connecticut as a Republican, serving until 1827. As president of the 1818 state constitutional convention, he led the successful fight for a wider suffrage, an independent judiciary, and the disestablishment of the Congregationalist Church.
Cromwell, Oliver, 1599-1658, lord protector of England.

Parliamentary General

The son of a gentry family, he entered Cambridge in 1616 but probably left the next year. Cromwell entered Parliament in 1628, standing firmly with the opposition to Charles I, and was active in the Short and Long Parliaments (1640), although not a conspicuous leader. During the first civil war (see English civil war) he rose rapidly to leadership because of his military ability and his genius for organizing and inspiring the parliamentary armies. His own regiment, the Ironsides, distinguished itself at Marston Moor (1644) and in numerous minor engagements.

In 1644 he pressed for a thorough reorganization of the parliamentary forces and was appointed (1645) second in command to Sir Thomas Fairfax (later Baron Fairfax of Cameron) in the resulting New Model Army, which defeated the king at Naseby in 1645. In the quarrel between the army and Parliament following the first civil war, Cromwell supported the sectarians in the army and approved the seizure (1647) of Charles from Parliament. However, he favored a moderate settlement with the king (as opposed to the radical proposals of the Levelers) until Charles's flight to Carisbrooke (1647) and secret dealings with the Scots caused him to lose all hope of further negotiations with the king.

In the second civil war he repelled the Scottish royalist invasion at Preston (1648). His political power was enhanced by the removal of Presbyterian leaders from Parliament in Pride's Purge (see under Pride, Thomas), and at the king's trial (1649) his was the leading voice demanding execution.

Lord Protector

In 1649, after the proclamation of the republican Commonwealth, Cromwell led a punitive expedition into Ireland, especially remembered for the massacre of the royalist garrison at Drogheda. He then initiated a policy of systematic dispossession of the Irish, transferring their lands to Protestant proprietors. In 1650 he invaded Scotland and routed the Scottish royalists at Dunbar; later he defeated the Scots and Charles II himself at Worcester (1651) and left the rest of the conquest of Scotland to Gen. George Monck.

Cromwell, now virtual dictator of the Commonwealth, dissolved the Rump Parliament in 1653 after it had failed to effect reforms demanded by the army and had sought to perpetuate its power. His attempt to replace it by the Nominated (Barebone's) Parliament (see Barebone, Praise-God), appointed by himself from nominations of the Independent congregations, resulted in a reckless, hopelessly divided body that was finally forced to dissolve itself. A group of army officers then drew up the constitutional document known as the Instrument of Government (1653), by which Cromwell became lord protector (see Protectorate). The Parliament of 1654, which was elected under the terms of the same document, wanted to prepare a new constitution and was soon dissolved.

After that Cromwell resorted to open military government, dividing England into 11 districts, each administered by a major-general. Another, more amenable Parliament was summoned in 1656, and in 1657 it presented to Cromwell a new constitution known as the Humble Petition and Advice and offered him the crown. He declined the crown but accepted (with some modifications) the Humble Petition, which further increased his power and set up a second legislative chamber. The second session of this same Parliament, however, challenged the new constitution, and Cromwell dissolved it (1658) seven months before his death.

Cromwell's foreign policy was governed by the need to expand English trade and prevent the restoration of the Stuarts, and by the desire to build up a Protestant league and enhance the prestige of the English republic. He approved the Navigation Act of 1651, which led to the first (1652-54) of the Dutch Wars, and he pressed the war against Spain (1655-58) as a means of encroaching on Spanish rights of colonization in America. The Dutch war resulted in several important naval victories for the English under Admiral Robert Blake, but the Spanish war, apart from the sinking of a Spanish fleet (also by Blake), brought only Jamaica and imposed a great strain on English finances.

Character and Influence

Opinions of Cromwell have always varied widely. His military skill and force of character are universally recognized. He met the task of holding together the gains of the civil wars and the discordant groups in the Puritan party in what seemed the only practical way. This involved force and intolerance, which were evidently alien to him personally, for he professed love for both toleration and constitutional government. Only Jews and non-Anglican Protestants (excepting Quakers) were tolerated during his rule, however, and he found it impossible to cooperate with Parliament in governing. His government, dependent on his own strong character, costly in its foreign policy, and representing a break in English institutions and a minority religious viewpoint, could not survive him long, and he was succeeded briefly as protector by his son Richard.


See the writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell (ed. by W. C. Abbott et al., 4 vol., 1937-47); biographies by M. P. Ashley (1969), J. E. C. Hill (1970), C. V. Wedgwood (rev. ed. 1973), and A. Fraser (1973); M. P. Ashley, The Greatness of Oliver Cromwell (1957, repr. 1966); writings on the period by S. R. Gardiner and Sir Charles Firth.

Oliver, Andrew, 1706-74, lieutenant governor of colonial Massachusetts (1771-73), b. Boston. Oliver was elected to the provincial council in 1746 and later served as secretary of the province. His acceptance of the post of stamp officer after the passage of the Stamp Act led to violent demonstrations against him, which forced him to resign the office. He became lieutenant governor in 1771, but popular indignation against him broke out again in 1773 as the result of the discovery of private letters he and Gov. Thomas Hutchinson had written to England criticizing the colonists and recommending coercive measures.
Oliver or Olivier, Isaac, 1556?-1617, English miniature painter. Oliver was a worthy follower of Hilliard as miniature painter to Elizabeth's court. His work, more naturalistic than Hilliard's, is to be seen in the British and the Victoria and Albert museums, London, and in the Cleveland Museum. His son and pupil, Peter Oliver, c.1594-1648?, was also an important miniaturist. He painted numerous watercolor copies of old masters, most of which are now in Windsor Castle.
Oliver, King (Joseph Oliver), 1885-1938, American jazz musician, b. Abend, La. Oliver began his professional career in 1904 with the Onward Brass Band. After playing with leading bands in New Orleans and establishing himself as a master cornetist, he moved to Chicago in 1918. From 1920 to 1923 he led the Creole Jazz Band, which became the greatest exponent of the New Orleans, or "Dixieland," jazz idiom. Oliver's style was noted for its bursting, exuberant power and its great range. He strongly influenced Louis Armstrong.

See M. T. Williams, King Oliver (1961), and G. Schuller, Early Jazz (1968).

Ellsworth, Oliver, 1745-1807, American political leader, third Chief Justice of the United States (1796-1800), b. Windsor, Conn. A Hartford lawyer, he was (1778-83) a member of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. His great service was at the U.S. Constitutional Convention, where he and Roger Sherman advanced the "Connecticut compromise," ending the struggle between large and small states over representation. He also served on the five-member committee that prepared the first draft of the Constitution, and was responsible for the use of the term "United States" in the document. In Connecticut, he played (1788) an important role in the state ratifying convention. As U.S. senator (1789-96), he was a leader of the Federalists and largely drafted the bill that set up the federal judiciary and gave the U.S. Supreme Court the authority to review state supreme court decisions. Ellsworth later served (1799-1800) as a commissioner to negotiate with the French government concerning the restrictions put on American vessels.

See biography by W. G. Brown (1905).

Pollock, Oliver, 1737-1823, American merchant, b. Ireland. He arrived in America at the age of 23 and became a successful merchant. After moving to New Orleans, Pollock speculated advantageously in land and in the slave trade and gained the confidence of the Spanish government. He contributed generously to the cause of the colonies in the American Revolution, obtained supplies from the Spanish, and helped finance George Rogers Clark's conquest of the Northwest. After the war the American government met its debts to him, but repayment was tardy and incomplete.

See biography by J. A. James (1937, repr. 1970).

La Farge, Oliver, 1901-63, American writer and anthropologist, b. New York City, grad. Harvard (B.A., 1924; M.A., 1929). He conducted three archaeological expeditions to Arizona and also ethnological expeditions to Guatemala and Mexico. La Farge used his field experience to authenticate his reflective stories of Native American habit and character. Laughing Boy (1929), a novel of Navajo life, won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1930. Other works are The Sparks Fly Upward (1931), The Enemy Gods (1937), and the stories All the Young Men (1935). Santa Fe recounts the history of that city.

See his autobiographical Raw Material (1945); biographies by E. Gillis (1967), D. McNickle (1971), and T. M. Pearce (1972).

Holden, Oliver, 1765-1844, American composer and compiler of hymns, b. Shirley, Mass. His popular tune Coronation, to Edward Perronet's hymn All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name, first appeared in his Union Harmony (1793). With Samuel Holyoke and Hans Gram he edited The Massachusetts Compiler (1795), an important collection and study of sacred vocal music.
Evans, Oliver, 1755-1819, American inventor, b. near Newport, Del. He joined his brothers in a flour-milling business in Wilmington, and after studying similar earlier devices, he developed, installed, and patented a number of grain-handling machines. These inventions included an elevator, a conveyor, a descender, and a hopper boy; a generation later they were standard equipment in U.S. mills. The flour mill he built in the 1780s was completely automatic, constituting the first continuous-flow production line in history. His Young Mill-Wright & Miller's Guide (1795) went through many editions. After experimenting with a steam carriage to run on ordinary roads, Evans turned his attention to stationary steam engines. He was a pioneer in the building of high-pressure engines, and after establishing the Mars Iron Works in 1807 built about 50 engines, most of them used in pumping. He built the first steam river dredge to be used in the United States, bringing it to the river under its own power.
St. John, Oliver, 1598?-1673, English politician. He married (1638) a cousin of Oliver Cromwell. In 1637-38 he was, by his brilliant defense of John Hampden in the ship money case, drawn into the opposition to Charles I. Although Charles appointed (1641) him solicitor general, St. John remained a conspicuous opposition leader in the Long Parliament, taking a leading part in the attainder (1641) of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford. He supported Cromwell and the army against Parliament in 1647 and was made (1648) chief justice of common pleas. He refused to take part in the trial (1649) of Charles I. St. John was one of the commissioners who negotiated (1652) the union with Scotland. His friendship with Cromwell cooled during the Protectorate, and he cooperated with Gen. George Monck in effecting the Restoration (1660) of the monarchy. In his Case of Oliver St. John (1660) he denied complicity in the execution of Charles I and the establishment of the Commonwealth. He was punished only with exclusion from holding office. He lived abroad after 1662.
Heaviside, Oliver, 1850-1925, English physicist. He did valuable work in telephony and in the theory of electrical conduction in cables and other areas of electric theory. He suggested (1902) the existence of a layer in the upper atmosphere responsible for altering the path of certain radio waves and thus making possible long-distance transmission of signals. The same conclusion was reached independently by Arthur E. Kennelly; its existence was proven, and it is known both as the Kennelly-Heaviside layer and as the Heaviside layer. See ionosphere.
Stone, Oliver, 1946-, American filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer, b. New York City, studied filmmaking with Martin Scorsese at New York Univ. (B.F.A., 1971). Stone enlisted (1967) in the army and saw combat in Vietnam, winning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He adapted the screenplay for Midnight Express (1978; Academy Award) and created other scripts before directing his first Hollywood film, The Hand (1981). Stone won critical plaudits for Salvador (1986), but it was not until he wrote and directed the grimly realistic Vietnam War drama Platoon (1986; Academy Award, best director) that he catapulted to popular success. In his exploration of various uniquely American themes, Stone has become a controversial figure, frequently criticized for mingling fact and fiction in some films (e.g., JFK, 1991) and for portraying extreme violence in others (e.g., Natural Born Killers, 1994). His many other movies include Wall Street (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989; Academy Award, best director), The Doors (1991), Nixon (1995), World Trade Center (2006), and W. (2008, a dramatized portrait of George W. Bush).

See his Platoon and Salvador: The Screenplays (1987) and his autobiographical novel A Child's Night Dream (written 1966, pub. 1997); N. Kagan, The Cinema of Oliver Stone (1995); D. Kunz, ed., The Films of Oliver Stone (1997); C. Salewicz, Oliver Stone, Close Up (1998).

Goldsmith, Oliver, 1730?-1774, Anglo-Irish author. The son of an Irish clergyman, he was graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1749. He studied medicine at Edinburgh and Leiden, but his career as a physician was quite unsuccessful. In 1756 he settled in London, where he achieved some success as a miscellaneous contributor to periodicals and as the author of Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe (1759). But it was not until The Citizen of the World (1762), a series of whimsical and satirical essays, that he was recognized as an able man of letters. His fame grew with The Traveler (1764), a philosophic poem, and the nostalgic pastoral The Deserted Village (1770). However, his literary reputation rests on his two comedies, The Good-natur'd Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1773), and his only novel, The Vicar of Wakefield (1766). His comedies injected a much-needed sense of realism into the dull, sentimental plays of the period. They are lively, witty, and imbued with an endearing humanity. The Vicar of Wakefield is the warm, humorous, if somewhat melodramatic, story of a country parson and his family. Although he earned a great deal of money in his lifetime, Goldsmith's improvidence kept him poor. Boswell depicted him as a ridiculous, blundering, but tenderhearted and generous creature. He had the friendship of many of the literary and artistic great of his day, the most notable being that of Samuel Johnson.

See biography by R. M. Wardle (1957, repr. 1969); R. Quintana (1967), R. H. Hopkins (1969), R. L. Harp (1976), and J. Giner (1978).

Smithies, Oliver, 1925-, American geneticist, b. Halifax, England, Ph.D., Oxford, 1951. Smithies was on the faculty at the Univ. of Toronto (1953-60) and Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (1960-88) before becoming a professor at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With Sir Martin Evans and Mario Capecchi, he was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which recognized their contributions to the development of gene targeting, a technique that enables individual genes to be "knocked out" of mice DNA and replaced with others. Smithies went on to use gene targeting to investigate inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

Oliver! is a British musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is loosely based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

It premiered in the West End in 1960, enjoying a long run, a successful Broadway production in 1964 and further tours and revivals. It was made into a musical film in 1968. A new London production is scheduled to begin previews in December 2008.


That it was the first musical adaptation of a Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit was one of the reasons why it attracted such attention. There had been two previous Dickens musicals in the 1950s, both of them television adaptations of A Christmas Carol, but the dramatic story of Oliver Twist was the first Dickens work to be presented as a successful stage musical. Another reason for the success of the musical was the revolving stage set, an innovation designed by Sean Kenny.

The show launched the careers of several child actors, including Davy Jones, later of The Monkees; Phil Collins, later of Genesis; and Tony Robinson, who later played the role of Baldrick in the television series Black Adder. The singer Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie) also featured in early line-ups, eventually graduating to the role of Artful Dodger in the West End production.

The plot of Dickens's original novel is considerably simplified for the purposes of the musical, with Fagin being represented more as a comic character than as a villain, and large portions of the latter part of the story being completely left out. Although Dickens' novel has been called antisemitic in its portrayal of the Jew Fagin as evil, the production by Bart (himself a Jew) was more sympathetic and featured many Jewish actors in leading roles: Ron Moody (Ronald Moodnik), Georgia Brown (Lilian Klot), and Martin Horsey.


Act I

The musical opens in the workhouse, as the half-starved orphan boys are entering the enormous lunchroom for dinner ("Food Glorious Food"). They are fed only gruel. Nine year old Oliver Twist (actually identified as thirteen in the libretto but generally played as much younger) gathers up the courage to ask for more. He is immediately apprehended and is told to gather his belongings by Mr Bumble and the Widow Corney, the heartless and greedy caretakers of the workhouse ("Oliver!"). Mr Bumble and Widow Corney start flirting during conversation. Mr Bumble goes too far in "I Shall Scream!". At the end, Widow Corney ends up on Mr Bumble's lap, kissing him. Oliver comes back and is promptly sold ("Boy for Sale") and apprenticed to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. He and his wife taunt Oliver with the song "That's Your Funeral". He is sent to sleep in the basement with the coffins, something which makes him visibly uncomfortable. ("Where is Love?").

The next morning bully Noah Claypole, who oversees Oliver's work, badmouths Oliver's dead mother, whereupon Oliver begins pummeling him. Mrs Sowerberry and her daughter, Charlotte run in, and become hysterical. They then lock Oliver in a coffin. Mr. Bumble is sent for, and he and the Sowerberrys lock Oliver in a coffin, but during all the commotion Oliver escapes. After a week on the run, he meets the Artful Dodger, a boy wearing an oversize coat and a top hat. He beckons Oliver to join him with "Consider Yourself". Dodger is, unknown to Oliver, a boy pickpocket, and he invites Oliver to come and live in Fagin's lair. Fagin is a criminal, and he is in the business of teaching young boys to pick pockets. Oliver, however, is completely unaware of any criminality, and believes that the boys make handkerchiefs rather than steal them. Oliver is introduced to Fagin and all the other boy pickpockets, and is taught their ways in "You've got to Pick a Pocket or Two".

The next day, Oliver meets Nancy, the live-in girlfriend of the evil, terrifying Bill Sikes, a burglar whose abuse she endures because she loves him. Nancy and Oliver take an instant liking to each other, and Nancy shows motherly affection toward him. Bet, Nancy's younger sister (merely her best friend in the 1968 film and in Dickens' novel), is also with her. Nancy, along with Bet and the boys, sing about how they don't mind a bit of danger in "It's a Fine Life". Dodger humorously starts pretending to be an upper-class citizen, ("I'd Do Anything"), along with Fagin, Oliver, Nancy, Bet, and the boys mocking high society. Nancy and Bet leave and Oliver is sent out with the other boys on his first pickpocketing job ("Be Back Soon"), though he still believes that they are going to teach him how to make handkerchiefs. The Dodger, another boy pickpocket named Charley Bates, and Oliver decide to stick together, and when Dodger and Charley rob Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy old man, they run off, leaving the shocked Oliver, who now realizes that his new friends are pickpockets, to be blamed for looking guilty. Brownlow thinks that Oliver is the thief, but Oliver is cleared in court (offstage).

Act II

To make up for his error, the wealthy Brownlow has taken Oliver to live with him, noticing something vaguely familiar about him. In the evening the bar is full of people having a good time and Nancy is called upon to sing an old tavern song ("Oom Pah Pah"). Bill Sykes enters and sings ("My Name"), and gets the crowd to leave. Dodger runs in and tells Fagin about Oliver being captured. Fagin and Bill decide that they have to kidnap Oliver to keep him from revealing their whereabouts and secrets. Nancy is asked to participate, but feeling sorry for the boy and wishing him to have a better life if he has the chance - refuses, until Bill slaps her around. She tries to convince herself that he really loves her and expresses her need for him with the co-dependent anthem, "As Long As He Needs Me".

Meanwhile the next morning, at Mr. Brownlow's house, Ms. Bedwin, the housekeeper, sings Oliver a reprise of "Where is Love?" and as he wakes up they take notice of the street vendors outside in the song "Who Will Buy?". Mr. Brownlow and Dr. Grimwig discuss Oliver's condition. They come to the conclusion that he is fine and that he can return some books to the bookseller for Mr. Brownlow. The Vendors continue to sing ("Who Will Buy") and at the very end, Nancy and Bill show up and grab Oliver. They bring him back to Fagin's, where Nancy saves Oliver from a beating from Sykes after the boy tries to flee but is stopped. Nancy angrily and remorsefully reviews what their "Fine Life" has come to in "It's A Fine Life (reprise)". When Sykes and Nancy leave, Fagin ponders his future in the humorous song "Reviewing the Situation", in which, every time he thinks of a good reason for going straight, he reconsiders and decides to remain a criminal.

Back at the workhouse, Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, now unhappily married, meet up with the dying pauper Old Sally and another old lady, who tell them of how Oliver's mother came to the workhouse to have her baby and gave her a gold locket after the birth, implying that she came from a rich family. The mother then died. Mr Bumble and Widow Corney, realizing that Oliver may have wealthy relatives, visit Mr. Brownlow in order to profit from any reward given out for information of him ("Oliver! (reprise)"). He throws them out, knowing that they have suppressed evidence until they could get a reward for it. Brownlow looks at the picture inside the locket, a picture of his daughter, and realizes that Oliver, who knows nothing of his family history, is actually his grandson. (Oliver's mother had disappeared after having been left pregnant by her lover, who jilted her.)

Nancy, terrified for Oliver and feeling guilty, visits Brownlow and promises to deliver Oliver to him safely that night at midnight on London Bridge - if Brownlow does not bring the police or ask any questions. She then ponders again about Bill in "As Long As He Needs Me (reprise)". Bill suspects that Nancy is up to something. That night, he follows her as she sneaks Oliver out, although in the stage version it is never made clear how he knew exactly when to do this. At London Bridge, he confronts them, knocks Oliver temporarily unconscious, and brutally clubs Nancy to death (in some stagings of the show, he strangles her, stabs her, or slits her throat, but the musical's original libretto follows Dickens's original novel in having her beaten to death). He then grabs Oliver, who has since revived, and runs offstage with him, presumably back to the hideout to ask Fagin for getaway money. Mr. Brownlow, who had been late keeping the appointment, arrives and discovers Nancy's body. A large crowd soon forms, among them the distraught Bet. Bullseye, Bill's fierce terrier, returns to the scene of the crime and the crowd prepares to follow him to the hideout. After they exit Fagin and his boys, terrified at the idea of being apprehended, leave their hideout in panic. Not finding Bill at the hideout, the anxious crowd, now whipped up into a thirst for justice, returns to the Thames Embankment, when suddenly Bill appears at the top of the bridge, holding Oliver as hostage and threatening to kill him if the crowd tries to take him. Unseen by Bill, two policemen sneak up on him. One of them shoots Bill to death and the other grabs Oliver as Bill releases him. Oliver is then reunited with Mr. Brownlow.

After the crowd disperses, Fagin re-enters, making sure not to be seen by anyone, and sings a reprise of "Reviewing the Situation". All of the cast re-enter for curtain calls, singing a medley of "Food Glorious Food" and "Consider Yourself", and then the fourth wall of drama is broken, as the actors respectively playing the supposed-to-be dead Nancy and Sykes re-enter very much alive, and Oliver, joined by the rest of the cast, once more sings to Nancy "I'd Do Anything".


  • Overture - Orchestra
  • Food Glorious Food - Orphans
  • Oliver! - Mr. Bumble, Widow Corney, Orphans
  • I Shall Scream! - Mr. Bumble, Widow Corney
  • Boy for Sale - Mr. Bumble
  • That's Your Funeral - Mr. Sowerberry, Mrs. Sowerberry, Mr. Bumble
  • Where is Love? - Oliver
  • Consider Yourself - The Artful Dodger, Oliver, Charlie Bates, Chorus
  • You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two - Fagin, Fagin's Gang
  • It's a Fine Life - Nancy, Bet, Fagin's Gang
  • I'd Do Anything - The Artful Dodger, Nancy, Oliver, Bet, Fagin, Fagin's Gang
  • Be Back Soon - Fagin, The Artful Dodger, Fagit's Gang

  • Oom-Pah-Pah - Nancy, Chorus
  • My Name - Bill Sykes
  • As Long As He Needs Me - Nancy
  • Where is love? (Reprise) - Mrs. Bedwin
  • Who Will Buy? - Oliver, Sellers, Chorus
  • It's a Fine Life (Reprise) - Bill Sykes, Nancy, Fagin, The Artful Dodger
  • Reviewing the Situation - Fagin
  • Oliver! (reprise) - Mr. Bumble, Widow Corney
  • As Long As He Needs Me (Reprise) - Nancy
  • Reviewing the Situation (Reprise) - Fagin
  • Finale (Food, Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, and I'd Do Anything) - Entire Cast (including Nancy and Sykes)


Original West End production

The original London production of Oliver! opened in the New Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on June 30, 1960 and ran for 2618 performances.Among the original cast were Ron Moody as Fagin, Georgia Brown as Nancy, and Barry Humphries in a small comic role as Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker. Keith Hamshere (the original Oliver) is now a Hollywood still photographer (Star Wars etc.); Martin Horsey (the original Dodger) works as an actor/director and is the author of the play L'Chaim. The part of Nancy was originally written for Alma Cogan, who despite being unable to commit to the production, steered a great many producers to invest in the production.

American productions

The musical previewed in the U.S. with a 1962 national tour (whose cast was preserved on recording), and the first Broadway production opened at the Imperial Theatre on January 6, 1963 and closed on November 14, 1964 after 774 performances. The American production had child actor Bruce Prochnik in the title role alongside Georgia Brown, reprising her West End turn as Nancy, and Clive Revill, replacing Ron Moody, as Fagin. While the national tour had young actor Michael Goodman as The Artful Dodger, the Broadway transfer had him replaced by a young Davy Jones. The original Broadway production was a critical success and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Actor (for Mr. Revill), Actress (for Ms. Brown) and Featured Actor (for Mr. Jones). The show won Tonys for Sean Kenny's Scenic Design, Donald Pippin's musical direction and Lionel Bart's score.

A 1965 revival at the Martin Beck Theatre ran for 64 performances, and featured Robin Ramsay and Maura K. Wedge with direction bt Peter Coe.

1983 saw a new production of Oliver as the first musical produced by the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, as part of its inaugural season as a self-producing theatre.

In 1984 there was a short lived Broadway revival of 17 performances and 13 previews with Ron Moody reprising his West End and film role as Fagin and Patti LuPone as Nancy, with direction again by Peter Coe.

1994 London revival

In 1994, Oliver! was revived for the London stage with some additional music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. It was directed by Sam Mendes, with Graham Gill as the resident director, and featured Jonathan Pryce as Fagin, Sally Dexter as Nancy (Alison Sevitt understudying), James Villiers (Mr Brownlow) and Miles Anderson as Bill Sykes. Later in the run future pop stars Jon Lee (who would later rise to fame as a member of the successful pop group, S Club 7) and Tom Fletcher (who would later become a member of McFly) played the title role and Adam Searles played the Artful Dodger. Danielle McCormack (who went on to play the role of Mel in the television show My Parents Are Aliens) appeared as Bet.

Australian tour (2002-04)

The Australian tour was a successful trip through Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore from 2002 to 2004. The show, which mirrored Sam Mendes' production, was recreated by Graham Gill. John Waters (the actor, not to be confused with John Waters, the director) portrayed Fagin, Tamsin Carroll was Nancy, and the production also featured Stuart Wagstaff, Steve Bastoni and Keegan Joyce in the title role. The role of Oliver was also rotated with Maddison Orr. The role of the Artful Dodger was shared between Matthew Waters and Tim Matthews. Both of the children's casts earned good notices.

North American tour

A North American tour began in 2003, produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Networks. It ran till April 2005 and played most major theatrical venues in the U.S. and several in Canada. The show was directed by the London team which managed the Sam Mendes version in London and the Australian tour, with Graham Gill as director.

A new North American tour is set to open in September 2008 and tour the country until March 2009.

2009 revival

A revival of the 1994 Sam Mendes production, directed by Rupert Goold, will open on 14 January 2009 (previews 12 December 2008) at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, starring Rowan Atkinson as Fagin, Burn Gorman as Bill Sykes, Julian Glover as Mr Brownlow, Jordan Li-Smith as Charlie Bates and Julian Bleach as Mr Sowerberry. The roles of Nancy and Oliver have been cast through a BBC reality television talent show series called I'd Do Anything. The three young actors who won the role of Oliver are Laurence Jeffcoate, Harry Stott and Gwion Jones. Jodie Prenger won the role of Nancy.

Principal characters

  • Oliver Twist, the protagonist of the story, he is a lonely orphan boy born in the workhouse.
  • Fagin, a conniving career criminal, he takes in homeless boys and teaches them to pick pockets for him.
  • Nancy, Bill Syke's lover, she takes a liking to Oliver and treats him like her own child.
  • Mr. Brownlow, Oliver's grandfather, a man of wealth and breeding.
  • Bill Sykes, Nancy's brutal boyfriend.
  • Mr. Bumble, the pompous leader of the workhouse in which Oliver was born.
  • The Artful Dodger, the cleverest of Fagin's pickpockets, he introduces Fagin to Oliver.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Sowerberry, the couple who take in Oliver and use him in their funeral business.
  • Mrs. Corney, the matron of the workhouse where Oliver was born, later marries Mr. Bumble.
  • Charlotte Sowerberry, the rude but also flirtatious daughter of the Sowerberries.
  • Noah Claypole, The Sowerberrys' apprentice, he bullies Oliver about his mother and enjoys a flirty relationship with Charlotte.
  • Bet, Nancy's friend, one of Fagin's former pickpockets.
  • Charley Bates, one of Fagin's pickpockets. He is Dodger's side kick.


Dodger!, a sequel to Lionel Bart's Oliver! was composed by Andrew Fletcher with the book and lyrics written by David Lambert. It is set seven years after the events in the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens where the Artful Dodger has been sentenced to an Australian penal colony and has a romantic involvement with the character Bet.

References and notes

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