“Consider yourself at home” at Menlo School’s annual musical under the stars “Oliver!”

by Contributed Content on May 2, 2018

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Menlo Drama is  presenting Lionel Bart’s Tony-award winning musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ literary masterpiece, Oliver!, to conclude its 2017-18 drama series on Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6, and Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, at 8:00 pm outdoors on the quad at Menlo School (50 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton).

The entire community is welcome to this productionn which is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, available for advance purchase at store.menloschool.org. Tickets are also available at the box office one hour before each performance. Gates open at 6:00 pm for lawn and traditional seating. Picnic blankets, picnic dinners and low profile lawn chairs welcome!

Oliver! combines the dramatic forces of both the middle and upper schools in one spectacular show featuring seedy scoundrels, a gang of lovable pickpockets, an unlikely heroine, a winsome orphan and a score of rowdy and heartwarming musical numbers that will have you humming along.

Sophomore Emma McGaraghan, who portrays the sympathetic Nancy, explains “the circumstances [her character] is placed in are obviously extremely difficult and unpleasant, [but] the lasting theme of the show is about finding the light and making the most of any situation.”

Senior Rishi Varma agrees that “ the show is full of big, exciting dance numbers, as well as soft, dramatic character moments . . . Dickens created Oliver as a child full of dreams and goodness in a [dark] world, [but] at its heart, Oliver! is a story about good triumphing over evil.”

Director of Creative Arts and Upper School Drama Steven Minning joins forces with David Mugglebee, Director of Middle School drama, to stage this all-school musical featuring the talents of Menlo students ranging in age from 11 to 18.

Minning chose Oliver! because of the show’s enduring message of hope. “The novel, Oliver Twist , was first published in 1837,” he says. “At the time, Dickens was quoted as saying, ‘I wished to show, in little Oliver, the principle of good surviving through every adverse circumstance, and triumphing at last,’ and good triumphing over evil is as relevant today as it was 181 years ago.”

Continuing the tradition of philanthropy Minning began four years ago through Menlo Drama Gives Back, this production of Oliver! will benefit Truckers Against Trafficking, a national nonprofit that educates, equips, empowers and mobilizes members of the trucking and busing industries to combat child and other human trafficking.

Photo by Clara Guthrie; From left to right: Emma McGaraghan, Sean Nesamoney, Ari Troper, Lila Gold, Dylan Gold, Luke Arnold

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