Elyana Randolph as Oliver Twist in Stage 74's production of Oliver! JR.
The energy of Stage 74 at the SYJCC was electric at the Junior Company performance of Oliver! JR. on December 11th. The Sunday matinee production was full of passion, professionalism, and powerhouse performances. The young cast perfectly captured the show’s dark, yet comical tone while committing 100 percent to each of their characters. The coming-of-age stage musical takes place in Victorian England and centers around Oliver Twist, a young orphan who runs away to the streets of London where he is taken in by an eccentric group of child pickpockets. After being captured for a crime he did not commit, the adventure continues and Oliver learns the true meaning of family. The musical is based on the classic Charles Dickens novel of the same name and is set to music that elevates the story’s heartwarming nature.
Elyana Randolph did an outstanding job playing the titular role. A true triple threat, her acting, singing, and dancing throughout created an emotionally captivating performance impossible to ignore. The ensemble also delivered a standout performance every scene they were in, especially during the dance numbers. They all did such a great job transporting the audience to the streets of London through the way they all executed their roles. Emerson Brown’s performance of Nancy was full of light and energy and her vocal performance was especially beautiful. Ruby Fallas gave a truly charming and charismatic performance as the Artful Dodger, with next level stage presence that the audience couldn't get enough of. The role of Fagin was played by Olivia Karanadze, who delivered a lively and nuanced performance of a complex character all while executing perfect vocals and dance numbers. Zachary Grinman played the villainous Bill Sikes. His acting of the paranoid antagonist was unforgettable and the sinister way he interacted with the other cast members on stage added lots of suspense to the show. You could feel the passion that each actor had for performing through every move they made on that stage.
The creative team behind this show included Tyler Patrick Matos as director, Sid Cherry as musical director, and Anni Foster as stage manager, with Rochele Seskin as managing artistic director of Stage 74. The choreography, done by Jackie Caulin, was a standout element of the show and was something to look forward to with each musical number. The musicians were great as well, joining forces with the onstage vocalists to deliver beautiful performances and also setting the tone of each scene. The pit included Sid Cherry on piano and keyboard, Emily Dana on violin, Ryan Beucke on bass, and Patrick Armann on drums and percussion. Julia Puttré’s costume design was the cherry on top of this production, with each outfit worn perfectly articulating the overall vibe of the character wearing it. The production staff did a great job setting the stage for the young cast to really shine through.
Stage 74’s production of Oliver JR. was such a fun display of all the young talent in the Long Island area. With a cast ranging from grades 1 - 6, the Junior Company put on a show full of heart and earned every bit of the thunderous applause that they received.