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Klahowya students put their twist on classic ‘Oliver!’

Consider yourself invited to the Klahowya production of Oliver!, Lionel Bart’s Broadway adaptation of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

More than 70 children, ages 4-18 will take the stage May 6-8, bringing to life the story of Oliver, a poor workhouse boy whose misfortune meets mischief and mayhem.

The boy is sold and then runs away, gets arrested and eventually gets adopted by a rich old man.

When the townspeople find out Oliver is heir to a vast fortune, various villains try to kidnap him.

The plot and music unfolded last Friday as students performed a dress rehearsal for Klahowya’s junior high-aged students.

The show starts at 7 p.m. all three days and tickets are $5. They can be purchased at Kitsap Mall, Klahowya or at the door.

“It’s nice to do something a little darker and sinister,” said senior Charles Parnell, of his part as Fagin the pickpocket. He, Brenna Gardner-Brown, a junior, and Stefaney Rantz, also a junior, choreographed the two-hour show.

“It’s a really fun show,” said sophomore Emily Usher who plays Nancy — a woman in love with an abusive man. Usher, who has been on the stage all her life belted out solos such as “As Long as He Needs Me.”

The “he” Nancy clings to is Bill Sikes, played by Patrick Spicker, a senior.

“I get to be the bad guy and that’s something nobody ever sees,” Spicker said.

“I think she’s really stupid. It really shows how desperate people can get,” Usher said of her character.

Jackie Levenseller, Klahowya vocal and drama teacher, chose the production partly because of its familiarity. She played Nancy while in high school in Montana. Oliver! was her first musical and one she would perform in two more times.

Oliver! is the drama department’s largest undertaking thus far with a cast of nearly 80.

The title role went to Eileen Flint, a wispy seventh grader who cut her shoulder length locks for the part. Levenseller first met Flint in one of her classes.

“I thought ‘She’s got a lot of spark,’” Levenseller said.

“It’s fun. I get to sing and dance,” Flint said following the performance.

Levenseller calls Klahowya’s 7-year-old drama program “one of those secrets of drama,” where people see Oliver! and “a cross section of kids 4-18 having good clean fun.”

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