Oliver! Opens At Rockaway Theatre Company
Excitement is reaching a fever pitch in Fort Tilden as The Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) prepares to kick off its tenth season with the musical Oliver! The musical is an adaptation of Charles Dickens classic tale of the trials and tribulations of the orphan Oliver Twist in Victorian England.
The cast is headed up by young Austin Zambito-Valente in the title role and RTC newcomer Jai Sada as Fagin, the crusty old leader of a gang of young thieves.
In the show, Oliver meets several colorful characters such as the Artful Dodger, Nancy, and the consummately evil Bill Sykes, played by three wellloved Post Theatre veterans, Matthew Smilardi, Nancy Sturgis and Bernard Smith, respectively.
The show boasts a cast of 52 talented actors, singers and dancers in the community theatre. More than half of the cast is made up of children under the age of 12, many of whom are local residents. Many of these young thespians began their dramatic careers in RTC's Children's Theatre Workshop.
The RTC production team is made up of Director/Choreographer Kathleen Valentine and Musical Director Anne Rebold. The cast and crew have been hard at work in rehearsals at the Post Theater for the past two months. Their hard work has definitely paid off. "I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with a creative and experienced production crew and a marvelous cast of performers, worthy of any Broadway stage," said Valentine.
Rebold conducts a 10-piece orchestra that will perform a collection of songs which include "Pick a Pocket or Two," "As Long As He Needs Me," and other hits from Oliver! She also worked as costume designer and constructor. The musical's sets were created by artist James Cantirino.
The show will be presented on May 11, May 12, May 18 and May 19 at 8 p.m. and on May 13 and May 20 at 2 p.m. Reservation Manager Peggy Press urges theatergoers to call for reservations at 718-850-2450, as half of the scheduled performances are already sold out.