Oliver! Original Broadway Cast Recording

Music & Lyrics by: Lionel Bart

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Oliver Twist, a novel by Charles Dickens, I wondered how the film would translate into other media.  I was already aware that there was a movie musical of the same name and had seen the Walt Disney version featuring an adorable kitten, but I had forgotten that Oliver! was a Broadway musical based upon the novel.  Masterworks Broadway has recently re-issued the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Oliver! in eco-friendly packaging.

            Already a hit in Britain, Oliver! didnít actually reach the Broadway stage until 1963.  The musical starred Bruce Prochnik as Oliver Twist, a young orphan destined for bigger and better things, who is thrown out of an orphanage because he asks for more food.  Considered greedy and ill-mannered, he is sold off, but runs away and comes across The Artful Dodger (Michael Goodman), another orphan who lives with a group of boys under the tutelage of the criminal Fagin (Clive Revill).  Will Oliver immerse himself in a life of crime or will he find his true calling waiting for him in the arms of a family he has never known?

            The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Oliver! features quite a few well-known and enjoyable songs such as Food, Glorious Food, Consider Yourself and Iíd Do Anything.  I couldnít help but sing along with these songs as I have heard them numerous times over the years on television in commercials, television shows and the like.  The rest of the music adequately told the tale of each character in the Oliver Twist tale. 

            I disliked certain songs like I Shall Scream, a song sung by Oliverís enemies, parish beadle Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney.  The song was corny and rather dull.  However, Reviewing the Situation, a song in which Fagin considers a life without crime, is actually quite humorous.  Fagin weighs the positives and the negatives and decides he is not cut out for lawful living.

            All in all, the Oliver! Original Broadway Cast Recording presents an enjoyable adaptation of Dickensí Oliver Twist.  The music is mostly fun and begs to be sung along with, especially the Finale.  Fans of the novel and Broadway musicals in general will enjoy this musical journey into the world of Oliver Twist.


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