Reviews: What Are Critics Saying About Oliver! at New York City Center Encores? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Are Critics Saying About Oliver! at New York City Center Encores?

Lilli Cooper, Raúl Esparza, Tam Mutu, and Benjamin Pajak star in the Lionel Bart musical.

Raul Esparza, Benjamin Pajak, Lilli Cooper, and Cast Joan Marcus

Consider yourself reviewed! The New York City Center Encores! production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! began a two-week run May 3, and the reviews are coming in. Encores! Artistic Director (and 2023 Tony Award nominee) Lear deBessonet directs the new staging, with Lilly Cooper, Raúl Esparza, Tam Mutu, and Benjamin Pajak leading the cast as Nancy, Fagin, Bill Sykes, and Oliver Twist, respectively.

They're joined onstage by Julian Lerner as The Artful Dodger, Brad Oscar as Mr. Bumble, Rashidra Scott as Mrs. Sowerberry, Thom Sesma as Mr. Sowerberry, Michael Siberry as Mr. Brownlow, and Mary Testa as Widow Corney.

The revival is the first major NYC run of the British musical since a 1984 revival and a one-night-only concert presented by Irish Rep in 2012.

WATCH: The Cast of Oliver! at New York City Center Perform Songs From the Show

Read the reviews below.

The Daily Beast (Tim Teeman)*

New York Stage Review (David Finkle)

The New York Times (Jesse Green)*

TheaterMania (David Gordon)

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

The ensemble includes Neo Andre, Angélica Beliard, Michael Cash, William Thomas Colin, Alma Cuervo, Kaitlyn Davidson, Julian Marcus DeGuzman, Zachary Downer, Sam Duncan, William Foon, Ethen Green-Younger, Jeff Kready, Nina LaFarga, Devin Miles Lugo, Morgan Marcell, Dario Natarelli, Adam Roberts, Lindsay Roberts, Eliseo Roman, Tanairi Vazquel, Sir Brock Warren, and Jacob Keith Watson. Performances also include a community youth ensemble performing in "Consider Yourself," comprising Nicolas Alvarado, Binta Bah, Miguel Beltran, Camila Campos, Marcus Chinchilla, Vera Gurpinar, Harvey Jean, Camila Juarez-Espinosa, Prudence Lipkin, Adrian Mayi, Kai Nover, Jace Parker Stephens, Milan Peoples, Pia Ramchandani, Xavier Richey, Nathaniel Segura, Suhani Shinde, Alton Smith, Carmela Valle, and Roally Vijay.

Rounding out the company are Fagin cover Gavin Lee and swings Erica Mansfield and Ryan Worsing.

DeBessonet's creative team includes choreographer Lorin Latarro, scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Sarafina Bush, lighting designer Justin Townsend, sound designer Alex Neumann, and hair and wig designer Cookie Jordan. Casting is by The Telsey Office's Geoff Josselson and Jimmy Larkin.

Music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell conducts the Encores! Orchestra, playing William David Brohn's orchestrations originally penned for the musical's 1994 West End revival. The performance also features a concert adaptation by Deborah Stein.

Based on the Charles Dickens classic, the musical follows the story of orphan Oliver Twist, who escapes the orphanage to the streets of Victorian London. Outside, he meets Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and a band of child pickpockets. The show's hit songs include “Where Is Love?,” “Food! Glorious Food!,” and “As Long As He Needs Me.”

The 2023 Encores! season opened earlier this season with Dear World starring Donna Murphy, and will conclude with The Light in the Piazza starring Ruthie Ann Miles June 21–25.

This production of Oliver! is licensed by Music Theatre International, and is presented by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh.


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