Theatre-at-Tusculum’s ‘Oliver!’ opens Nov. 10

Consider yourself one of us! Tickets are now available for Theatre-at-Tusculum’s production of Lionel Bart’s beloved musical, “Oliver!”

The musical, based on the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens, will open Friday, Nov. 10, at Tusculum’s Annie Hogan Byrd Theatre on Tusculum’s Greeneville campus. Audiences will have seven opportunities to see Theatre-at-Tusculum’s fall production, which is under the direction of Artist-in-Residence and Tusculum Arts Outreach Director Marilyn duBrisk and Assistant Director Brian Ricker.

Show dates are November 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 at 7 p.m. and November 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Jennifer Hollowell, box office manager, at 423-798-1620 or by e-mail at When reserving tickets please include name, a contact telephone number, the date to reserve the tickets, the number of tickets, and the type of ticket. Prices are: Adults – $15, Seniors (60+) – $12, Children (12 and under) – $5.

Tickets may be picked up and paid for at the box office the day of the performance, or any time at the Tusculum Arts Outreach office. Cash or check only for payment, as credit/debit cards are not accepted. The Box Office, located in the lobby of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building, will open an hour and a half before each show time with the house opening an hour before curtain. Audiences are reminded that seating is not assigned and will be first come, first served.

duBrisk, along with her creative team, has assembled a cast of more than 70 to bring the tale of “Oliver Twist,” his adventures and misadventures, to life. The show features all of the well-known characters from Dickens’ novel portrayed by a host of local talent.

The story centers on a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist, who is played by Doak Elementary fourth grader Aden Moore, as he is sent away from the Workhouse Orphanage by the wicked Widow Corney, portrayed by Sandy Nienaber. The boy is then sold by Mr. Bumble, the Beadle of the Workhouse, played by Tom Sizemore, to Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker and his cantankerous wife. The Sowerberrys are played by Matt Hensley and Sara Claiborne, respectively.

After fleeing the oppressive undertaker, Oliver joins up with a band of pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger, portrayed by Caedmon Oakes. The pickpockets are trained and cared for by the greedy and cunning Fagin, who is being brought to life by local favorite Chris Greene. As he is welcomed into Fagin’s den of pickpockets, he meets the kind-hearted heroine Nancy, played by Linda Barnett, who is returning to the Tusculum stage, and her abusive lover Bill Sikes, played by Parker Bunch in his first villainous role on the Tusculum stage.

Drama and chaos ensue as Oliver is arrested for stealing. However, he is then then taken in by the kind-hearted Mr. Brownlow, played by Ricker. and his housekeeper, Mrs. Bedwin, played by Amanda Harmon.

Supporting characters include; Dodger’s sidekick Charlie Bates, played by Zach Wallin and Nancy’s protégé Bet, played by Jorja Ward, both of whom are sixth graders at Greeneville Middle School. Charlotte Sowerberry is played by Greeneville High School freshman Madelynn Wedding, and Noah Claypole is played by Tusculum sophomore, Maxwell Reed. Rounding off the support cast are Zach Gass, as Dr. Grimwig, and Allison Craft, as Old Sally.  “Oliver!” is a story full of comedy, drama, suspense, and many thrilling moments.

The show features all the well-known musical numbers, including: “Food, Glorious Food,” “Oliver,” “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything” and “Who Will Buy?” The score, which won Lionel Bart the Tony Award for Best Original Score after its Broadway premiere in 1963, is being overseen by Angie Clendenon, long-time Theatre-at-Tusculum musical director, and Kasie Shelnutt, the accompanist, with Kim Berry as the show’s choreographer.

With a breathtaking and inspired set design by Frank Mengel and backdrop by Garry Renfro, audiences will be transported to mid-19th century London with the help of a slew of Victorian costumes carefully curated by Erin Schultz, costume director. Trenda Berney, a long-time Theatre-at-Tusculum volunteer, will be the show’s make-up director, and all the behind-the-scenes action will be organized by stage managers Suzanne Greene and Jim Holt.

Theatre-at-Tusculum is under the auspices of Tusculum Arts Outreach, which is led by duBrisk, Ricker, Hollowell, Mengel and Schultz. It is supported in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, “Hearts for the Arts,” as well as many generous donors and volunteers.

For information about Theatre-at-Tusculum or other Arts Outreach programs, please call 423-798-1620, visit, or via Facebook at TC Arts Outreach.

At front is Zach Wallin as Charlie Bates. Middle, left to right are Tom Sizemore as Mr. Bumble, Sandy Nienaber as Widow Corney, Aden Moore as Oliver Twist, Linda Brimer as Nancy and Jorja Ward as Bet. Back, left to right are Brian Ricker as Mr. Brownlow, Chris Greene as Fagin and Parker Bunch as Bill Sikes.