‘Oliver!’ opens Friday at Parkside Playhouse
Published 9:13 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Nine-year-old Wesley Cowan was a natural in the Vicksburg Theatre Guild’s “Les Miserable”, playing Gavroche, an impulsive young boy who sings “Little People” and this weekend he will step back on the stage as Oliver Twist in the VTG’s production of “Oliver!”
“Playing Oliver is definitely tricky, but it is definitely fun,” Wesley said.
“It is a very different part from Gavroche, who is loud and a ham. His character talks a lot like me, but Oliver is quiet and humble,” he said.
Email newsletter signup
“Oliver!” is based on the novel “Oliver Twist,” by Charles Dickens, and it is a story of an orphan who runs away from the orphanage and finds himself with a band of boys, who have been trained to pickpocket by an elderly man named Fagin.
As the main character of the show, Wesley’s biggest challenge has been learning his lines.
“The hardest thing is to learn all your lines. You have normal lines, songs and solos. Of the three, I like learning the parts of the songs the best. It’s challenging, but its fun,” he said.
Wesley, a homeschool student, said he loves being on the stage and has enjoyed becoming a regular at the VTG.
“I’ve met a lot of people, and I like hanging out here,” Wesley said.
Wesley admitted he has not yet read the lengthy novel by Dickens, but plans to in the near future.
Right now, he said he was just trying to get all the cast members to sign his copy of the book.
“Oliver Twist” was published in 1838, and the musical, “Oliver!” premiered in London, in 1960. It was brought to the U.S. in 1963.
“The show is a classic and most people will know the songs,” said Andrea Fairchild, the assistant director for the musical.
Fairchild is also playing small parts in the show including Mrs. Sowerberry.
“She is the wife of the funeral director and her character is loud, obnoxious and pushy” — the show-stealing role — Fairchild said.
As a mainstay for the VTG, Fairchild has been active at the VTG since 1996, performing in more than 25 productions and serving as a director and co-director.
Fairchild said she has enjoyed working with Jim Shirley, who is the director for “Oliver!”
“I like working with Jim, he sees the big picture and I’m a detail person. He also knows what he wants, and I enjoy making that come to life,” she said.
Oliver!” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Parkside Playhouse.
“This is a very exciting musical. There are lots of kids in it with lots of dance numbers. Be sure to come to “Oliver!,” Wesley said.
The musical will continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 6 and 7 and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 8. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for ages 65 and older and $10 for children under 12. Tickets are also available online at http://www.showclix.com/events/10243 and at the door at the Parkside Playhouse, 101 Iowa Ave. For more information, call 601-636-0471.