Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
Event Calendar


Music, Lyrics and Book by Lionel Bart
Directed by Molly Smith
Choreography by Parker Esse
Musical Direction by Paul Sportelli
October 30, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Fichandler Stage

Consider yourself invited to the theatrical event of the holiday season. Charles Dickens' unforgettable characters burst to life in the Tony Award-winning musical, Oliver! Artistic Director Molly Smith (Fiddler on the Roof) blends the chaotic worlds of Victorian London with 2015 London to infuse a modern edge to the classic story about an innocent orphan living amongst double-dealing thieves and conmen. Bursting with jubilant songs, including "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two," "Consider Yourself," "Where is Love?" and the scrumptious "Food, Glorious Food," Oliver! serves up a musical feast for the eyes and ears that will have every theater-lover calling out for "More!"

Oliver! is generously sponsored by and

Additional support is provided by Karen and Edward Burka and the Harry and Fay Burka Foundation, Sylvia Kay Greenberg and Charlotte and Hubert (Hank) Schlosberg.

Licensed by arrangement with Oliver Productions, Ltd. and Oliver Promotions, Ltd.


JANE BUNTING (Female Swing) is excited to be back in D.C. after being seen as a mersister in Olney’s The Little Mermaid last fall. New York/regional credits include Les Misérables (Eponine), Evita (Mistress, u/s Eva), Jekyll & Hyde (u/s Lucy - performed), The Threepenny Opera (Polly Peachum), Much Ado About Nothing (Hero), The Secret Garden and Legend of the Word. Jane will make her Kennedy Center debut in February 2016 in the Washington National Opera production of Lost in the Stars. She holds a BM in Musical Theatre from Oklahoma City University and hails from Houston, Texas. For HHR.

MOHAMMED BADAWI (Workhouse Boy/Fagin’s Gang) is extremely happy to make his Arena Stage debut in Oliver! He was most recently seen as Zaid in the CBS drama Madam Secretary. Other credits include Romeo in Romeo & Juliet and Geppetto in Pinocchio at the Westminster School. Mohammed’s first play was The Wizard of Oz at age five as the Warlock, which is when he discovered his passion for acting and singing. An eighth grader at the Westminster School, Mohammed lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his family. His favorite subjects are history and math, and he enjoys playing soccer and eating. Mohammed would like to thank his mom and dad for their love and support. He also wants to thank the entire Oliver! cast and director Molly Smith for allowing him to enjoy this valuable experience.

KYLE COFFMAN (The Artful Dodger) made his Broadway debut as an original cast member in the 2009 revival of West Side Story (A-rab), which first ran at The National Theatre in D.C. He was also seen in the original Broadway casts of Newsies (Henry) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Christopher Lyon, u/s Deputy). Kyle was featured on the cast albums of all three shows and served as the original Newsies logo. He has appeared twice on the Tony Awards, as well as multiple performances on TV shows such as Good Morning America and The View. In 2012, he had a featured role in the film Someday This Pain Will Be Useful. Kyle is thrilled to be playing his childhood hero in his first production at Arena Stage!

IAN ANTHONY COLEMAN (Workhouse Boy / Fagin’s Gang / Long Song Seller) is elated to perform at Arena Stage for the first time. He was last seen in Keegan Theatre’s Dogfight. D.C. credits include Keegan Theatre (Hud in Hair!, Helen Hayes ensemble nomination; Lance Corporal Dawson in the Irish tour of A Few Good Men), Imagination Stage (Wiley in Wiley and the Hairy Man), Creative Cauldron (Daniel in Once on This Island), ATMTC (Teddy in first national tour of Big Nate: The Musical) and Capital Fringe Festival (The 27 Club). Ian holds a B.S. in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon University, graduated from the Overtures Summer Musical Theatre Institute at Signature Theatre and studied at Theatre Lab and Studio Theatre in D.C. He will next be seen in Looking for Roberto Clemente at Imagination Stage., Instagram: @YungUptown

CATHERINE FLYE (Old Sally / Rose Seller) was last seen at Arena Stage playing Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady, a role she reprised this summer at the Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod. She graduated from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and since moving to the United States has worked extensively in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, writing, acting and directing. Acting credits include principal roles at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Round House, Studio Theatre and the Kennedy Center. Favorite roles include Shirley in Shirley Valentine, Lettice in Lettice and Lovage, Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Joyce Grenfell in George—Don’t Do That! Catherine has received 13 Helen Hayes Award nominations, and her production of The Pirates of Penzance won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical.

ELEASHA GAMBLE (Nancy) is delighted to be back at Arena Stage, where she was last seen in The Power of Two and as Laurey in Oklahoma! (Helen Hayes nomination). D.C. credits include Arena Stage (The Women of Brewster Place), Signature Theatre (Chess, Into the Woods), the Kennedy Center (Broadway Three Generations), Ford’s Theatre (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical for Civil War; Little Shop of Horrors; A Christmas Carol), Round House Theatre (Once on This Island, Helen Hayes nomination) and Toby’s Dinner Theatre (Ragtime, Helen Hayes nomination). Eleasha made her Off-Broadway debut in the Kathie Lee Gifford musical Under the Bridge and performed in the national tour of The Lion King. Regional credits include Dreamgirls and Big Fish. Dedicated to Joe and Claretta.

SEBASTIAN GERVASE (Workhouse Boy / Fagin’s Gang) is over-the-moon to be making his professional debut at Arena Stage, where he was featured on video in last season’s Our War reading the Gettysburg Address. Sebastian is a fifth-grader at Maret School and recently turned green to play Young Shrek in its production of Shrek the Musical. He has been a member of the Foundry UMC Children’s Choir and the Children’s Chorus of Washington, with concerts in several venues including the French Embassy. He has enjoyed attending Camp Arena Stage, appearing in shows at Adventure Theater MTC and taking lessons in piano (Levine School, Adam Edison), dance (Joy of Motion, Heather Parcells/BAA) and voice (Lisa Shaw, Amanda Bean). Sebastian thanks his Papa and Daddy, brother Michael, family, teachers and friends for encouraging his creative spirit.

JULIANE GODFREY (Old Lady/Milk Maid) is delighted to return to Arena Stage after playing Zaneeta in The Music Man. A proud Californian and UCLA graduate, she now resides in New York where her credits include Volleygirls (Katie, New York Musical Theatre Festival “Best of Fest” winner) and the workshops of Top Hat (director/choreographer Chris Gattelli). Regionally, her favorite credits include New York Water (Linda, The Depot Theatre), the world premiere of Holiday Inn (Louise US/ensemble, The Muny/Goodspeed), How to Succeed… (Stages St. Louis), A Chorus Line (Bebe, California Music Circus), Oliver (Charlotte, Paper Mill Playhouse), The Great American Mousical (director Julie Andrews, Goodspeed) and Anything Goes (Erma, Woodstock Playhouse). Love and huge thanks to the cast, Molly and Parker for taking me in as “one of the family” and also to BBR, Mom, Dad and Steven!

RAYANNE GONZALES (Widow Corney / Strawberry Seller) happily returns to Arena Stage following her appearances in Destiny of Desire, Mother Courage and Her Children, My Fair Lady, The Music Man, Damn Yankees and Señor Discretion Himself. She was also recently in Man of La Mancha at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Broadway credits include The Phantom of the Opera and Hands on a Hardbody. Additional credits include South Pacific (North Carolina Theatre and Casa Mañana), Porgy & Bess (Natchez Festival), the first national tour of In the Heights and NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! An alumna of Boston University, Longy School of Music and The Banff Centre, her honors include the National Federation of Music Clubs, Metropolitan Opera Auditions and Plácido Domingo’s Operalia. With warmest thanks to my family, CGF Talent and Paloma, smart and beautiful. Credo.

CHAZ JACKSON (Charley Bates) is excited to make his Arena Stage debut. New York/Off-Broadway credits include Carnival! with Musicals Tonight (ensemble) and The Brady Bunch (Bobby Brady). Regional credits include A Christmas Carol with Arkansas Repertory Theatre, A Chorus Line (Mark) and Hairspray (IQ) with Lyric Theatre Oklahoma. Additional favorite credits in Big River (Huck Finn), High School Musical (Ryan) and Hello, Dolly! (Barnaby Tucker). B.M. in Musical Theatre, OCU. Follow Chaz on Instagram and Twitter @CJack4.

IAN LASSITER (Bill Sykes) was seen on Broadway in War Horse (Lincoln Center). Off-Broadway credits include An Octaroon (Theater for a New Audience), Antony and Cleopatra (Public Theater, RSC Swan Theatre, UK), Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Kazino) and Mission Drift (co-writer/performer, Connelly Theater). New York/regional credits include The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare & Co), An Iliad: Guerrillas at Troy (Continuum Company, Florence, Italy), Henry V (Two River Theater), Ash Girl (Connelly Theater), Martian Chronicles (Fordham Alumni Co), Land O’ Fire (Wings Theater), September 12th (Nuyorican Poets’ Café) and Fitz and Walloughs Get it in the End (NYC Fringe). Ian wrote and produced his first short film, Mixed Up, which is being submitted to the festival circuit, and is currently writing two original feature films. Ian earned his MFA from NYU Tisch, Graduate Acting Program., Facebook: IanLassiterNYC

JIMMY MAVRIKES (Male Swing) is incredibly happy to be back at Arena Stage after performing as Yussel in last year’s Fiddler on the Roof. Other Washington credits include Cabaret at Signature Theatre; Bat Boy (Edgar, Helen Hayes nomination for Best Actor) at 1st Stage; Petite Rouge at Adventure Theatre; Spamalot and Into the Woods (Jack) at Toby’s Dinner Theatre; and The Pirates of Penzance with Washington Savoyards. Regionally he has performed with Infinity Theatre Company (Arpad in She Loves Me, Sisters of Swing and Stories: Live and in Person!). Proud B.M. Musical Theatre graduate from CUA. Much love and thanks to Molly, Parker, Paul and Sue. He will appear next in James and the Giant Peach at Adventure Theatre.

JEFF McCARTHY (Fagin) happily returns to Arena Stage, where he was last seen in You, Nero. Other D.C. appearances include the world premiere of Fox on the Fairway at Signature Theatre and Mame at the Kennedy Center. Jeff has enjoyed a theater, TV, film and recording career that has taken him to Asia, Europe and Africa. Leading roles in New York include Chicago, Urinetown, Side show, Southern Comfort, Zorba, Sympathetic Magic, Dream True, Smile and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Regional credits include The Front Page, Kunstler, Sweeney Todd, The Price, Follies, All My Sons, The Underpants and hundreds more. TV credits include The Good Wife, Schweitzer: Called to Africa (title role), Star Trek: The Next Generation, Designing Women, Law & Order and Cheers. Film credits include Starting Out in the Evening, Robocop 2, Consent, Eve of Destruction and Cliffhanger.

JAKE HESTON MILLER (Oliver Twist) is thrilled to be making his Arena Stage debut as Oliver. He was previously seen as Tiny Tim in the original cast of Scrooge No More at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia and as a special guest singer at the US Open Tennis Tournament in Flushing, New York. In addition to performing, Jake is a straight-A student in the fourth grade and likes to play tennis. Jake would like to thank his mom and dad, Jordyn, Jackson and his family and friends for their love and support. A special thank you to his manager Colette Palmerio of CP Talent, his agent Michelle Thompson of Avalon Artists and Elysabeth Muscat at the Peabody Institute for nurturing his voice. Follow @jakesings05.

HENRY NIEPOETTER (Workhouse Boy / Fagin’s Gang) makes his Arena Stage debut. Other Washington appearances include Oliver! (orphan/thief/ensemble) at Adventure Theatre/MTC, presented at Round House Theatre, and two productions at Olney Theatre Center – Carousel (Starkeeper/Heavenly Friend 2) and The King and I (Louis Leonowens). At Constellation Theatre Company, Henry portrayed Itys in The Love of the Nightingale, and as a member of the Washington Opera Children’s Chorus he sang in La Bohéme and The Little Prince at the Kennedy Center. He appeared as Wolfie in Signs of Life at the American Stage Theatre Company in St. Petersburg, Florida and Young John Alex in the film Of Dice and Men. Henry is a company member of the pre-professional program at Adventure Theatre/MTC.

DANNY OTTEN (Child Swing) is thrilled to make his debut at Arena Stage in Oliver! Danny performed as a newsboy swing in Riverside Center’s Gypsy and as an Oompa-Loompa and candy kid in Riverside Children’s Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr. in addition to various local musical theater camp productions. His screen credits include appearances in the movie Kidney Beans (by local screenwriter and director R.J. Haynes) and the 2014 season of the AMC TV series TURN. An 11-year-old home-schooled seventh-grader, Danny also studies acrobatics and Tae Kwon Do. He would like to thank Arena Stage for this opportunity and his family and friends for their love and support.

JESSE PALMER (Bet / Dance Captain) is excited to be back “home” at Arena Stage. She is a proud graduate of Catholic University and a Maryland native. Credits include Arena Stage’s Fiddler on the Roof (swing/dance captain) and My Fair Lady (ensemble); national tour of Spamalot (ensemble), Signature Theatre’s The Visit (u/s Young Claire), Washington Savoyards’ The Music Man (Zaneeta) and Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s Grease (Frenchie). Much love and gratitude to her big ol’ family, friends and mentors. To Elise; to Jamie, Justin and everyone at Clear Talent, as well as her wonderful, supportive fiance! Always inspired by LAA, JPT, SAB, JAW and PJP. Thank you to Molly, Parker and Paul for always being a source of inspiration. It is an absolute privilege to be working with you again! Jesse is also the co-founder of Motivated

KYLE SCHLIEFER (Noah Claypole) is thrilled to be back at Arena Stage, where his credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Sasha) and A House of Glass (Kip Kiernan) as part of the Kogod Cradle Series. D.C. credits include Olney Theatre’s A Chorus Line (Mike, Helen Hayes nomination) and Peter Pan (Nibs, u/s Peter Pan); Theater J’s Lost in Yonkers (Jay); Ford’s Theatre’s The Member of the Wedding (Barney Mackean); Folger Theatre’s Arcadia and Round House Theatre’s Lord of the Flies (Eric). NY credits include Songs for a New World (Off-Broadway), Alchemical Theatre’s Sing to Me Through Open Windows (Andrew Linden) and The Actors Fund’s Always, The Young Strangers (Billy). Film/TV credits include Trident Gum’s “Anthem” national commercial and CBS’ The Good Wife. Kyle can be seen next on the second season of Showtime’s The Affair. Kyle is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College.

DOREA SCHMIDT (Mrs. Sowerberry /Mrs. Bedwin) is overjoyed to return to Arena Stage after performing as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. Other D.C. credits include Olney Theatre Center’s Carousel (Carrie); No Rules Theatre Company’s The Fantasticks (Luisa), Black Comedy (Clea) and The Last 5 Years (Cathy); Constellation Theatre Company’s The Love of the Nightingale (Procne); and Adventure Theatre’s Goodnight Moon. Regional credits include The Cape Playhouse’s My Fair Lady; Everyman Theatre’s Crimes of the Heart (Babe) and The Beaux’ Stratagem (Cherry); Open Stage of Harrisburg’s [title of show] (Heidi) and Doubt (Sister James); and Fulton Theatre/Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s The Sound of Music. Education: Messiah College, National Theatre Institute and the William Esper Studio. Dorea is a proud company member of Only Make Believe.

THOMAS ADRIAN SIMPSON (Mr. Brownlow) returns to Arena Stage where he was last seen in Fiddler on the Roof. Other Arena appearances include Abraham Lincoln in Mary T. & Lizzy K., Pickering in My Fair Lady and Roy in The Light in the Piazza, among others. Tom’s D.C. performances include Signature Theatre (The Threepenny Opera, Company), the Kennedy Center Family Theater (Orphie and the Book of Heroes), Ford’s Theatre (1776, Liberty Smith) and Shakespeare Theatre Company (Candide, The Boys From Syracuse). Regional credits include Goodman Theatre (Candide), The Wayside Theatre (Quixote in Man of La Mancha), The Riverside Center (9 to 5 with Sally Struthers, Les Misérables) and New Mexico’s Fusion Theatre (Outside Mullingar). Tom is a graduate of the U.N.C. School of the Arts.

STEPHEN GREGORY SMITH (Dr. Grimwig / First Bowrunner) was last seen at Arena Stage in Damn Yankees. Additional credits include Signature Theatre’s The Fix, Miss Saigon, Whorehouse, Brother Russia (Prince Felix), Hairspray (Corny Collins), The Boy Detective Fails (Billy Argo), Sunset Boulevard, Les Misérables, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods (Jack), Assassins (Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), One Red Flower (Billy) and 110 in the Shade (Jimmy, Helen Hayes Award); DCAC’s High Fidelity (Rob); Studio Theatre’s Adding Machine (SHRDLU); MetroStage’ tick tick…BOOM! (Jon); Ford’s Theatre’s Freedom’s Song, Violet, The Civil War and Meet John Doe; the Kennedy Center’s My Fair Lady in Concert, First You Dream and Regina; Wolf Trap’s Street Scene (Dick) and Olney Theatre Center’s Avenue Q (Nicky/Trekkie).

TOM STORY (Mr. Sowerberry /Chairman / Second Bowrunner) returns to Arena Stage after appearing in The Book Club Play. He is an affiliated artist with Shakespeare Theatre Company where he has appeared in many productions. Additional appearances in the D.C. area include Round House Theatre, Ford’s Theatre and Folger Theatre. At Studio Theatre, he has acted in numerous productions and directed two productions. Regional credits include Seattle Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre and ten seasons at Berkshire Theatre Festival, where he most recently directed Design for Living. Tom is a graduate of Duke University and The Juilliard School where he studied with Michael Kahn. He also studied with Joy Zinoman at Studio Theatre. He has seven Helen Hayes nominations and is a recipient of a Fox Foundation Fellowship.

ETHAN VAN SLYKE (Workhouse Boy /Fagin’s Gang) is honored to make his Arena Stage debut in Oliver! An eighth grader at Lunsford Middle School in Loudoun County, VA, he was last seen as Colin in The Secret Garden (NextStop Theatre) and Gavroche in Les Misérables (RCP, WATCH Award nominee), in addition to performing in his school, community theater and professional productions. Ethan has performed with the ACDA Children’s Honors Chorus at GMU and the VA All District 16 Band (percussion). He dances with Encore Performers, has studied piano for eight years, trains in gymnastics and plays lacrosse. Ethan would like to thank Raynor van der Merwe (ETAP), Evan Hoffmann (NextStop) and Zoe Dillard (Herndon Theatre) for their inspiration, and his family and friends for their love and support.

KYLE VAUGHN (Pauper Asst. / Knife Grinder / Night Watchman) is grateful to be back at Arena Stage after appearing in the critically acclaimed Oklahoma! as Dream Curly. D.C. credits include Ford’s/Signature Theatre’s production of Hello Dolly! (Helen Hayes Award) and the Kennedy Center’s Children of Eden concert. Favorite credits include world-premiere musicals The Nutty Professor and Catch Me If You Can. Regionally, he has performed at Santa Fe Opera, 5th Avenue Theatre, Avery Fisher Hall, TUTS, Seattle Opera, Arvada Center, North Shore Music Theatre, Music Theatre West, Opera Carolina, Grand Ole Opry and has performed in six musicals at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Touring credits include the first national tour of All Shook Up! (u/s Chad), Fame and internationally with Celtic Fusion. Special thanks to Molly, Parker, Paul and all his mentors, family and friends who constantly inspire him.

PAUL VOGT (Mr. Bumble) makes his Arena Stage debut. Broadway credits include Amos Hart in Chicago and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, and he also replaced Harvey Fierstein in the Las Vegas production. He was Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (The Muny). Regional credits include Elf and A Funny Thing Happened… (Paper Mill), Hairspray (numerous productions) and Minsky’s (Ahmanson). Audiences may know him from MADtv. On NBC’s The Rerun Show, he played Mrs. Edna Garrett from The Facts of Life. Paul’s voice can be heard in the films Igor, Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters and Norm of the North. Film credits include Blonde Ambition, Good Boy, Princess Diaries 2, Valentine’s Day and Lilo and Stitch 2. Television credits include Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Hannah Montana, Arrested Development, Reno 911 and Maximum Bob., @Therealpaulvogt.

LARA ZINN (Charlotte) is ecstatic to make her Arena Stage debut. She was most recently seen as Ariel in Olney Theatre Center’s The Little Mermaid. Previous credits include Believe (Mary Poppins), Villains Tonight (Evil Queen), Toy Story: The Musical (Bo Peep) and Dreams (Ariel) for Disney Cruise Line. She performed in Les Misérables (ensemble) and Grease (Sandy) at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. University credits include Cabaret (Frauline Kost/Fritzie), On the Town (Claire DeLoone) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy). Education: BM in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University. @larazinn


LIONEL BART (Music, Lyrics and Book) enjoyed an international reputation as a composer, lyricist and playwright that spanned more than four decades. He was born in London and educated in the East End. In 1956, he joined a skiffle group called “The Cavemen” featuring Tommy Steele. With Lionel’s song “Rock with the Caveman,” Steele launched his career. Lionel became a “disciple” of Joan Littlewood and fell in love with musical theater, leading to the stage shows Lock Up Your Daughters and Fings Ain’t Wot They Used t’Be. 1960 opened with “Do You Mind,” a chart topping single for Anthony Newley. Oliver! opened at the New Theatre in 1960 before opening in New York in 1962, winning the Tony Award for its creator. The classic ballad “As Long As He Needs Me” provided a huge hit for Shirley Bassey. Lionel launched three further shows – Blitz! (1962), Maggie May (1964) and Twang!! (1965). He wrote “From Russia with Love” from the second Bond movie. In 1968, Oliver! was transformed into a feature film, collecting six Oscars, with the soundtrack album going gold. In 1989 he wrote and starred in the Abbey National Building Society TV advert with the accompanying single “Happy Endings.” 1992-1994 saw the return of Blitz!, Maggie May and Oliver! to the West End. In 1994, Big Audio Dynamite revived “Rock With the Caveman,” featured in The Flintstones movie soundtrack. Lionel was the first British composer to receive a Tony Award.

MOLLY SMITH (Director) has served as Artistic Director of Arena Stage since 1998. Her directing credits include The Originalist, Fiddler on the Roof, Camp David, Mother Courage and Her Children, Oklahoma!, A Moon for the Misbegotten, My Fair Lady, The Great White Hope, The Music Man, Orpheus Descending, Legacy of Light, The Women of Brewster Place, Cabaret, An American Daughter, South Pacific, Agamemnon and His Daughters, Coyote Builds North America, All My Sons and How I Learned to Drive at Arena Stage. Her directorial work has also been seen at the Shaw Festival in Canada, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, Centaur Theatre in Montreal and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998. Molly has been a leader in new play development for over 30 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects like How I Learned to Drive; Passion Play, a cycle and Next to Normal. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Wendy Wasserstein, Lawrence Wright, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, Eric Coble, Charles Randolph-Wright and many others. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the architecture and creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and by positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. During her time with the company, Arena Stage has workshopped more than 100 productions, produced 29 world premieres, staged numerous second and third productions and been an important part of nurturing seven projects that went on to have a life on Broadway. Molly recently made her Broadway debut directing The Velocity of Autumn, following its critically acclaimed run at Arena Stage. She was awarded honorary doctorates from American University and Towson University.

PARKER ESSE (Choreographer) is a three-time Helen Hayes nominee and 2010 Best Choreography winner for Oklahoma! at Arena Stage, where he also choreographed Fiddler on the Roof, Smokey Joe’s Café, The Music Man and The Light in the Piazza. Parker had the honor of choreographing Sondheim and Marsalis’ A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, directed by John Doyle for New York City Center Encores! and Jazz at Lincoln Center. This season he directed and choreographed Omaha Symphony’s Christmas Spectacular and West Side Story, FLMTF, and choreographed A Wonderful Life, Goodspeed; Bells Are Ringing, Berkshire Theatre Festival; Sweet Charity, Canada’s Shaw Festival; and West Side Story, Signature Theatre (upcoming). He was associate choreographer for Broadway’s Finian’s Rainbow, A Tale of Two Cities and five Encores! productions. Happy to be home! BC&BH

PAUL SPORTELLI (Music Director)’s Arena Stage credits include Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and The Light in the Piazza (Helen Hayes nomination). Originally from Bristol, Connecticut, Paul is thrilled to work with Molly Smith and in the USA again, after their collaboration on My Fair Lady and Mack and Mabel at Canada’s Shaw Festival, where he has been the music director since 1998. Shaw Festival credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Floyd Collins, Happy End and Sunday in the Park with George. He made his conducting debut for Broadway’s Aspects of Love. His touring credits include Les Misérables and Toronto credits include Miss Saigon and Beauty and the Beast. Paul is the co-writer of six musicals, two of which (Tristan and Maria Severa) premiered at Shaw and are available on iTunes. Other musicals Paul co-wrote include Little Mercy’s First Murder (Tarragon Theatre, Toronto; winner of seven Dora Awards), Oracle (Summerworks, Toronto) and his latest work-in-progress 33-1/3, which was workshopped and presented at the Canadian Musical Theatre Project this fall.

ANITA MAYNARD-LOSH (Associate Director) is in her 12th season at Arena Stage. She directed the world premiere of last season’s Our War and served as associate director on several productions, including this season’s Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End. Anita trained and taught at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, was on the faculty at Webster University in St. Louis, headed the theater department at the University of Alaska Southeast and was the associate artistic director of Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. The Alaska Native-inspired production of Macbeth that Anita conceived and directed was performed in English and Tlingit at the National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. Through Arena Stage’s devised theater program, Voices of Now, Anita has collaborated on creating and directing original plays with communities in India and Croatia.

TODD ROSENTHAL (Set Designer)’s Broadway credits include August: Osage County (Tony Award), The Motherfucker with the Hat (Tony nomination), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Tony Award, Best Revival), Of Mice and Men (filmed by National Theatre Live), This is Our Youth and Fish in the Dark. Off-Broadway credits include Red Light Winter, Barrow Street; Domesticated, Lincoln Center; and Qualms, Playwrights Horizons. Set designer for six years for the Big Apple Circus. International credits include August: Osage County (National Theatre, London, Sydney Theater, Australia); and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Theatre Royal, Ireland). Regional credits include Steppenwolf (33 productions), Goodman (artistic partner), Guthrie, Alliance, Mark Taper, ART, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Oregon Shakespeare and many others. Select museum exhibitions (lead designer) include “Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition” and “The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.” Other awards: Olivier, Helen Hayes, Ovation, Back Stage Garland, Joseph Jefferson and Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration. Professor, Northwestern University. Graduate, Yale Drama.

WADE LABOISSONNIERE (Costume Designer) designed for Broadway’s The Story of My Life. Tour credits include Disney’s High School Musical (U.S., Australia, Spain, West End) and White Christmas. Off-Broadway credits include An Octoroon, The Outgoing Tide, Side Effects, Zanna, Don’t! and Shakespeare’s R&J. Regional productions with Ford’s Theatre (associate artist), Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Kennedy Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Center Stage, Portland Center Stage, Goodspeed, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Delaware Theatre, Hangar, Dallas Theater Center, Alliance Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse and Westport Country Playhouse. Published work: “Blueprints of Fashion” book series. Yale School of Drama.

COLIN K. BILLS (Lighting Designer) returns to Arena Stage after designing The Originalist and Fiddler on the Roof. He is a Woolly Mammoth company member, designing over 35 productions including Stupid F*cking Bird, Clybourne Park and The Convert. A conspirator with dog & pony dc, he has collaborated on A Killing Game and Beertown. He has worked with the Berkshire Theater Festival, Center Stage, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Everyman Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Forum Theatre, Imagination Stage, Intiman Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Marin Theatre Company, Metro Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Opera Lafayette, Opéra Royal Versailles, Portland Center Stage, Round House, The Smithsonian, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, Synetic Theatre, Theater J, Washington Revels, Wilma Theater and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Colin is the recipient of three Helen Hayes Awards and a Princess Grace Fellowship, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

JOSHUA HORVATH (Sound Designer) is a Bay area and Chicago award-winning sound designer/composer/music producer. He previously designed Baskerville at Arena Stage. His designs and music have been heard regionally at Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, The Alliance, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, The Court, Lookingglass, Milwaukee Rep, McCarter, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Kansas City Rep, The Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, The Mark Taper Forum and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Joshua has taught sound design for theater and film at Northwestern University and DePaul University. He is a four-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner and an LA Ovation winner, company member of The House Theatre of Chicago, artistic associate at Lookingglass Theatre and collaborative partner with Goodman Theatre.

RAY NARDELLI (Sound Designer)’s Off Broadway credits include Lookingglass Alice at The New Victory Theatre. Regional theaters include Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Old Globe Theatre, The Arsht Theatre in Miami, Indiana Rep Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Auditorium Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Milwaukee Rep Theatre, Court Theatre, Hartford Stage, Alliance Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Alley Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare and many more. He has recorded, mixed and produced CD’s for over ten new musicals. Over 400 film, TV, DVD and computer game credits worldwide. Four Chicago Jeff Awards. Pre-Broadway production work on The Last Ship, Bring It On, Ann, The Adams Family, Light in the Piazza (assistant designer), All Shook Up, Death of a Salesman and Moonlight and Magnolias.

ANNE NESMITH (Wig Designer) is pleased to return to Arena Stage, where her design credits include Destiny of Desire, Fiddler on the Roof, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Blood Quilt, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Other Desert Cities and The Music Man. Her recent work includes Cabaret at Signature Theatre, Falstaff for Saito Kinen Festival (Matsumoto, Japan) and Ghosts of Versailles and Madama Butterfly at Wolf Trap Opera. Anne was the resident wig/makeup designer for the Baltimore Opera and has constructed wigs for Scooby Doo! Live tour and the Asia tour of 42nd Street. Her designs have been seen at the Kennedy Center, Opera Philadelphia, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre and Lyric Opera of Baltimore.

BRAD GARDNER (Assistant Music Director) is thrilled to be back at Arena Stage after being assistant music director for Fiddler on the Roof last season. He was also a part of My Fair Lady in 2012. In New York, he was on the music team for The Addams Family (rehearsal pianist), Jasper in Deadland (associate music director/conductor) and Silence! The Musical (sub-conductor/keyboards). Brad regularly works with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, having been assistant music director and co-orchestrator for Broadway Backwards for multiple years. He has worked regionally on the Broadway-aimed Sense & Sensibility (Denver Center), Marvin Hamlisch’s The Nutty Professor (TPAC), The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (Goodspeed) and 9 to 5 (North Shore). Brad is the music director of several theater education programs including Story Shifters NYC, The Performing Arts Project and Arena Stage Academy.

DAVID LEONG (Fight Choreographer) ’s Arena Stage credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Mother Courage and Her Children, A Time to KillOklahoma!, A View from the Bridge, Death of a Salesman, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Quality of Life, Legacy of Light, The Odyssey, I Am a Man and Coming of the Hurricane. Broadway credits include Fool for Love, Amazing Grace, Billy Elliott: The Musical, A Time to Kill, The Civil War, Carousel, Company, Hamlet, Macbeth, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, King Hedley II, Picnic, Sex and Longing, The Rainmaker, A Delicate Balance, The Homecoming, Solitary Confinement and In the Summer House. Off-Broadway credits include more than 70 productions for Lincoln Center, NYTW, MTC, Public, Playwrights Horizons and Second Stage. David’s regional credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company, Mark Taper, Guthrie, Goodman, ART, ACT, Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, Seattle Rep, Alley, Williamstown and many more. He is professor of theater at Virginia Commonwealth University.

LYNN WATSON (Dialect and Vocal Coach) is delighted to return to Arena Stage. She has worked extensively as a voice, speech and dialects specialist at leading regional theaters. Her first work at Arena Stage was on the 50th anniversary production of The Great White Hope in 2000. Since then she has coached many plays at Arena, including Fiddler on the Roof, A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Misanthrope, M. Butterfly and A Time to Kill. Other D.C. region productions include The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Kennedy Center, and plays at Ford’s, Signature and Round House. She spent four seasons at South Coast Repertory in California. Other credits include critically-acclaimed productions of A Streetcar Named Desire at A.C.T. (San Francisco) and Skylight at the Mark Taper Forum in LA. In 2009, she founded a project to revive public domain plays by women. The first production was a podcast of Susanna Centlivre’s Restoration play, The Basset Table. Other directing includes the world premiere of the short play Milk and Water by Tina Howe. Lynn is the current President of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association ( and a professor of theater at UMBC.

TONY NEIDENBACH (Assistant Choreographer) is thrilled to be a part of this exciting production and making his Arena Stage debut. From Gainesville, Georgia, Tony is a New York-based performer. He has worked regionally across the country (Theatre Under The Stars, The Muny, Northern Stage, Pioneer Theatre Company, Virginia Stage Company, Seaside Music Theater, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Jacob's Pillow) and toured nationally with Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Anything Goes. New York credits include Off-Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera, 65th annual Tony Awards, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival and the HBO web series High Maintenance. He is a current member of the critically acclaimed Liz Gerring Dance Company. Huge thanks to Parker and Molly for
this opportunity!

SUSAN R. WHITE (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be a part of Arena’s 66th season and to be working, once again, with Artistic Director Molly Smith. Susan is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

KRISTEN MARY HARRIS (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be part of this production of Oliver! at Arena Stage. Favorite Arena credits include The Normal Heart, Red, Mother Courage and Her Children, Fiddler on the Roof and Oklahoma! (Helen Hayes Award). Additional D.C. credits include Kid Victory (world premiere), The Threepenny Opera, Miss Saigon and Crossing (world premiere) at Signature Theatre; and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. Kristen holds a BFA in Theatre Production from University of Arizona and is a proud Actors’ Equity Association member.

GEOFF JOSSELSON (New York Casting) returns to Arena Stage after having cast acclaimed productions of The Blood Quilt, The Velocity of Autumn, Camp David, The Shoplifters, Fiddler on the Roof and King Hedley II. New York productions include The Velocity of Autumn on Broadway, Yank!, Enter Laughing, Southern Comfort, Altar Boyz, Septimus and Clarissa, Perfect Harmony, John and Jen and Pretty Filthy. He has cast productions for the York Theatre Company, Bay Street Theatre, Barrington Stage, Denver Center, North Shore Music Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Starlight Theatre and Sharon Playhouse. In addition to his independent casting office, Geoff teaches master classes around the country and is on faculty at CAP21.


Oliver at Arena Stage (RQ)

Clips from Arena Stage's holiday production of Oliver! playing through January 3, 2016.

Oliver! – Behind the Curtain

Take a look at the behind the scenes work that goes into making Arena Stage's big holiday musical - don't miss Oliver! now through January 3, 2016.

Oliver! – What’s the Buzz

Don’t miss Oliver! at Arena Stage! Now through January 3, 2016.

Oliver! – All the Right Moves

Oliver! choreographer Parker Esse discusses the creative vision behind the choreography of Oliver! Don't miss it this holiday season at Arena Stage October 30, 2015 - January 3, 2016.

Oliver! – Behind the Scenes

Don’t miss Oliver! at Arena Stage - October 30, 2015 - January 3, 2016.

Photo Gallery

An Interview with Parker Esse

Helen Hayes Award-winning choreographer Parker Esse returns to Arena Stage to tackle the chaotic world of Oliver! directed by Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith. In the midst of a hectic rehearsal schedule, Parker shared some insights into the sometimes back-breaking work of choreography.

This Oliver! has been described by Molly as Victorian London meets 2015 London. Can you say the same for
the dance style?

Somewhere within this wonderful world Molly has envisioned, is a unique physical style, which must also bring together these old and new worlds. I have been exploring ways to find our physicality for this production, by blending together traditional and modern elements to create a style specifically designed to tell our story of Oliver! It has been an exciting challenge for me and has been a fantastic opportunity for all of us to push ourselves into a unique and brave new world, with our vision. I have been exploring Victorian styles, traditional dance, modern movement, hip-hop, rhythm, and standard musical theater, in order to develop this world in which audiences will find themselves immersed. I am so thankful for this opportunity to explore new opportunities with Oliver! and I can’t wait to get to the rehearsal room every day!

You’ve worked with Molly for more than a decade. Do you have a favorite story about working with her?

I have a ton of stories, but one of my favorites, is not really a “working” together story per se. I am a 6’4” Texan, who wears his heart on his sleeve and has sometimes been known to get a little sentimentally exuberant and emotional at times. I also grew up in a family that loves to hug. Molly and I have been working together for 13 years now and I do not recall which show we were working on at the time. It was the first day of rehearsal, I came into the rehearsal space ready to work and saw Molly for the first time, after not seeing her for at least 6 months. I immediately ran over, threw my arms around her and gave a big old, Southern bear-hug. She might have even left the ground for a moment. Well, long story short, and unbeknownst to me - I broke her! I had too much love and a little too much squeeze. Needless to say, she had to head to her chiropractor later that day to be put back together. The following day when I went to hug her again, she quickly stopped me and said, “Parker I have to teach you how to hug me!” Well, I knew immediately what she meant, as my wife had been telling me for years I was going to hurt somebody, someday, with so much lovin’— I guess she was right!

Everyone seems to have a distinct memory of when they first discovered Oliver! either as a performer or an audience member. What’s your earliest memory of the show?”

Mine was an “I Can Do That” moment. My mother had signed one of my older sisters up for Oliver! with a group called H.I.T.S in Houston, Texas where I grew up. She decided to sign me up as well, to give me something to do; I was six and my sister was 11. Being the youngest of four, I was quite the little ham and immediately loved every second. My sister, however, was not a fan — she was not a theater-type personality. My mother found out my sister was not enjoying her time so after the production was over, she immediately decided to pull the both of us from the program. I remember immediately raising my hand and saying “Not me… I want to stay, please!” My mother had no idea I was enjoying performing so much and agreed to let me continue, I stayed for the next eight years until I started high school at the prestigious High School of Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. I can honestly say, Oliver! helped me to find my home and where I belonged. I have never looked back!

What Oliver! musical number are you excited for Arena audiences to see?

Wow, it is so hard to pick one, as always, and it changes every week. This week, I think I am most excited about “Food, Glorious Food”. I love the dynamics of the number and our kiddos are just fantastic! I have so much fun working with them all so I can’t wait for audiences to enjoy all their hard work and witness the world they have been so busy creating.


Post-Show Discussions
November 5 at 8:00 pm
November 17 at 7:30 pm
November 18 at 12:00 pm
December 9 at 12:00 pm
December 15 at 12:00 pm

Off Book

Welcome to Off Book – Arena Stage's online forum featuring American artists at the top of their game, talking about what they do best. Actors, directors, writers, dramaturgs, designers – unscripted and unrehearsed.

For our production of Oliver! we take you into contemporary London — with a nod to the Victorian — to remind our audience about the world we live in now. Through London we see America, too. Read More

The physical action of a musical propels the story forward. Explore the choreography of Oliver! — from the athletic dance of “Food, Glorious Food” and “Oom-Pah-Pah” to the controlled violence of London’s underbelly — with Parker Esse (Choreographer) and David Leong (Fight Choreographer). Read More

While serving with the Royal Air Force in 1948, Lionel Bart saw David Lean’s film of Oliver Twist and is reported to have said, ‘One day I’m going to write a musical based on that story and it will be better than any American musical.’ And Oliver! was born — and became one of the most popular titles in musical theater. During rehearsals I sat down with Music Director Paul Sportelli over lunch to discuss his approach to Oliver! and the contemporary sound he’s bringing to this beloved classic. Read More

The beauty of Lionel Bart’s musical is that he shows us the despair of poverty inherent in Dickens’ novel but, through the music, he is able to lift our spirits and give us hope. The juxtaposition of these emotions creates a rich tapestry which makes Oliver! a compelling work we want to revisit time and again. Let us take our cue from Oliver and dare to ask for more – for ourselves and for our community. Read More


Audio Described

November 4 at 7:30 pm
November 21 at 2:00 pm

Open Captioned

November 18 at 7:30 pm
December 17 at 8:00 pm