WINNETKA — It’s a busy summer for the volunteer producers and directors of Children’s Theatre of Winnetka preparing for the fall production of Oliver!—the next big musical for young performers on the North Shore. Charles Dickens’ beloved story of the orphan Oliver Twist returns to the Matz Hall stage November 16 through November 19.
All children in fourth grade through eighth grade residing or attending school in New Trier Township are eligible to audition for Children’s Theatre of Winnetka productions. Auditions for Oliver! will be held at the Winnetka Community House Sunday, August 27 at 2:00 pm for fourth-graders and fifth-graders and at 3:30 pm for sixth-graders through eighth-graders; or Monday, August 28 at 4:00 pm for fourth-graders and fifth-graders, and at 5:30 pm for sixth-graders through eighth-graders. Children can choose either day to audition, but must attend the time slot for their grade. Callbacks are scheduled for Wednesday, August 30 and Thursday, August 31. Audition materials for Oliver! are available at childrenstheatrewinnetka.com
Those new to Children’s Theatre of Winnetka are invited to attend a Free Audition Clinic on Thursday, August 24, and must register online at childrenstheatrewinnetka.com to attend. Children interested in the Oliver! stage crew can find about being on stage crew for the show by clicking here and may fill out an application anytime during auditions.
Oliver! marks 15 years of co-directing for the dynamic Cathy Hirschmann and Toby Nicholson who selected the show for the fall production and will work with more than 80 young performers in two different casts. “We’re excited to give our fourth through eighth graders an opportunity to be part of this spirited musical,” said Nicholson, a former New Trier theatre director and instructor, and professional actor/dancer/set designer. “Oliver! features big production numbers and plenty of roles for boys interested in getting on stage.”
Lionel Bart’s Oliver! takes audiences on a wild adventure with Oliver Twist as he navigates London’s underworld, searching for a home, a family, and above all—love. When Oliver is picked up by the Artful Dodger, he is welcomed into a gang of child pickpockets led by the conniving, but charismatic, Fagin. After Oliver is falsely accused of a theft he didn’t commit, he is rescued by a kind and wealthy gentleman, to the dismay of Fagin’s violent sidekick, Bill Sykes. Caught in the middle is the warm-hearted Nancy, trapped under Bill’s thumb, but desperate to help Oliver. With timeless songs like “As Long as He Needs Me,” “Food, Glorious Food,” and “Where is Love,” Oliver! is a musical classic.
Submitted by Children’s Theatre of Winnetka
Founded in 1974, Children’s Theatre of Winnetka is a not-for-profit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting theatrical experiences for children in fourth grade through eighth grade residing or going to school in New Trier Township. Children participate both onstage and backstage in two productions held in the fall and spring each year. Children’s Theatre of Winnetka operates under the auspices of the Winnetka Community House, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of North Shore residents by providing educational, cultural, social and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.