Melanie Frei, director of the musical Oliver! — Area Community Theatre’s July production, is pleased that many of the 55 cast members auditioned as families. Her husband, Tom, is playing his first on-stage role as Mr. Brownlow. Amanda Schmock, musical director, agrees that it is great to have families together: her twelve-year-old son, A.J., is playing the title character, Oliver Twist.
Dawn Van Alstine, playing Nancy, is joined by three of her children: Jordan Mattmiller playing Noah Claypole and company parts, Sydney Schroeder as the Artful Dodger, and Natalie Schroeder as one the orphans and a company-dancer. Christine Jacobsen, playing Mrs. Sowerberry and the Rose Seller, is joined by her son William as one of the hungry orphans. In another family, sisters Kendalyn and Aliza Gregar also appear as orphans.
Nathan Jungmeyer, playing Dr. Grimwig, is joined by three of his children, Aubrey, Annie, and Daniel, as orphans and various company roles. Christy Hennegan, choreographer and playing various company roles, is joined by three of her children as well: Harmony Hennegan playing the Maid and company roles, Gabriel Thideman as an orphan and Elius Hennegan as an orphan and the Boy Delivering Books.
Brad Lindberg, cast as Fagin, will be keeping an eye on his son Andrew playing the pickpocket, Handwalker, while Henning Garvin playing Bill Sikes will be on stage with his son Kai playing pickpocket Charlie Bates.
Eric Becker as Mr. Bumble will be joined on stage by his two sons Jack, as an orphan, and Anderson, as a Bow Street Runner and company singer-dancer. To make their family a complete affair, Eric’s wife, Katie, will be running things behind the curtain as stage manager, with the help of her sister Kelly Sunderlage.
Cast members whose family are cheering them on from the audience include: Samantha Komay as the Widow Corney, Justin Towne as Mr. Sowerberry, Sommer Stanley as Charlotte Sowerberry, Rocky Shutter as the Three Cripples Chairman and company singer, Annamarie Ott as Bet, Barb Sullivan as Mrs. Bedwin, Natalie Griffin as the Milkmaid, Lynda Clay Palmer as Old Sally and a Food Server, Emily Scholze as a Food Server, Matron, and various company roles, Collin Dowson as the Knife Grinder and a Bow Street Runner, Marcus Rowan as the Lamplighter, with Taylor Frank, Libby Berry, Mercede Ziems, Samara Steinmetz, and Elijah (E.J.) Klema rounding out the company.
Pickpocket gang members include Simon Brummund as Captain, Declan Fox as Nipper, Emma Fischer as Dipper, along with MaKayla Ueeck, Matthew Hennessey, Olivia Czarnecki and Tyden Sommer. Orphans include Justice Brooner, Ella Haskamp, Adam Johnson, Isabelle Lieser, Olivia King, Ethan Rogers, and Cale Ollendick.
Oliver! will be presented at the Tomah High School auditorium on July 20, 21, and 23. Thursday and Friday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday matinee starting at 2:00 p.m. Tickets will be available one hour before the show at the High School, and the doors open one half hour before curtain time. All seats are general admission. Print-at-home and mobile tickets are available beginning July 1 at tickets.tomahact.com. Non-member adult tickets are $15, member adult tickets are $10, and (for this show only) student tickets (under age 18) are only $5.