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January 16, 2007 > A touch of Broadway comes to Newark

A touch of Broadway comes to Newark

By Charlotte Flowers-Weston

By now, most of us have either read, seen, or heard the gripping story of Oliver Twist, the boy who was born an illegitimate in a workhouse and then sent to work as an undertaker's apprentice. After years of abuse, he eventually runs away to London where he meets The Artful Dodger, an experienced pickpocket, who leads him to Fagin the mastermind and overseer of a small den of thieves.

No matter how many times you've seen the story of OLIVER, you won't want to miss the performance that the cast of the STAGE 1 Community Theatre gives.

There was but a few empty seats in the Theatre last Friday evening, opening night, despite a chilling 32 degrees outside.

As the lights went dim and the orchestra began to play, the curtains opened to a scene in a workhouse where Oliver and other boys and girls clad in eightieth century styled clothes, with dismayed and hungry looks on their young innocent faces sat patiently, yet anxiously waiting for their usual bowl of bland porridge.

Waiting for vittles, they pass the time singing a delightful song, 'Food, Glorious Food', until the cruel Mr. Bumble appears, causing silence as they jump in unison to every beat of his violent staff.

C.J. Carlson with his delightful voice gives a stunning performance as Oliver Twist. And while this is only his second production at STAGE 1, he has performed in Bye Bye Birdie, under the direction of Ian Leonard who inspired him to keep improving.

Allan Holladay, who stars as The Artful Dodger, is excited to be back with Stage 1. He loves the theatre, and has been performing since age nine in various productions such as The Man Who Came to Dinner, Pajama Game, Once Upon a Mattress, Bye, Bye, Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man.

Trudy Morales sat beside her mother Trudy Salazar and watched with admiration as her Daughter Angeline Keister sang the lead and solo parts of the song, "Who Will Buy" along with Oliver, Street Criers, and the Ensemble. Salazar proudly pointed out her two adorable great grandsons, Braxton and Logan.

Morales said she was excited to see her daughter and grandsons on stage together. "My daughter was Nancy in OLIVER, eighteen years ago, and it is so great to come back after all these years and see her perform with her two sons", said very proud Morales.

While it was a first time production for some of the actors, they ALL gave outstanding performances.

Stage 1 Community theatre is a non-profit community theatre group located in Newark, California. The group has been performing works of comedy, drama and musical theatre in the East Bay over 15 years now and they are continuing to write their history. Their mission is to promote, advertise and encourage participation in the theatrical arts, to develop and present performing arts productions for the community, and to promote the cultural growth of the community in the Tri-City area.

According to the Director of the production, OLIVER, Barbara Williams, a major theme of the story is the importance of family, finding one's family, and forming familial communities.

"Not only does this fantastic cast, staff, orchestra and crew have among them the cr¸me de la cr¸me of my former students, long-time friends, and new found friends, but also many of them have brought their children and spouses into the process of creating this show for you. What more could we all want?" said Barbara Williams in her Director's Note.

Williams retired in June of 2004 after 39 years of teaching English and theatre at both Newark and Newark Memorial High Schools. She has directed countless plays and musicals, but the highlight of her career was her NMHS production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT in the fall of 2002. Since then, she has been active with Not In Our Town Newark, an organization dedicated to making the City of Newark and the Newark schools safe and welcoming for all individuals who live in the community, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual identity.

All performances take place at Newark Memorial High School - 39375 Cedar Boulevard, Newark.

Performances will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 1/12 - 1/27. Friday and Saturday performances start at 8:00 P.M. with Sunday matinees on 1/14 and 1/21 at 2:30 P.M.

$20 General admission. $18 Seniors & advance purchase - online at www.stage1theatre.org, by phone or at The Book End (located at Thornton Ave. and Cedar Blvd., Newark) $10 High School Students (with ID) & younger. Group rates are also available.

Call for tickets at 510-791-0287.



Oliver
Friday and Saturdays thru Jan 27; 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan 21; 2:30 p.m.
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
(510) 791-0287
www.stage1theatre.org

General Admission: $20
Advance Purchase & Seniors: $18
High School Students (with ID) and younger: $10

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