Cameron Mackintosh presents his triumphant new staging of Lionel Bart's masterpiece Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which was last seen at the Palladium in 1994. Oliver! is one of the most beloved British musicals, vividly bringing to life Dickens' timeless characters with its ever popular story of the boy who asked for more. Rowan Atkinson will star as Fagin until 18 July 2009.
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With music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, Oliver! first made its way onto the London stage in 1960. This successful West End run was followed by an equally successful Broadway production. The 1968 film starring Oliver Reed as the ferocious Bill Sykes and Ron Moody as charming thief ringleader Fagin (a role he also played in the original London production) won six Oscars and introduced the musical to a brand new audience. Oliver! returned to the London stage in 1994 with a production directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road To Perdition) and with extra sections of music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The production featured actor Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of The Caribbean, Tomorrow Never Dies) as Fagin. A revival of the production in 2009 filled the theatre world with excitement. Directed by Rupert Goold, the production retained Mendes’ lavish sets and featured comedy favourite Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder, Mr Bean) as Fagin, while the key roles of Oliver and Nancy were cast with the aid of the hit BBC reality TV series ‘I’d Do Anything.’ Opening to rapturous reviews, the production broke records for advance ticket sales and thrilled critics and audiences alike. Comedian Omid Djalili subsequently took over in the role of Fagin following Atkinson’s departure from the show in July 2009.