Highlights from Oliver!

The third medley in the concert is entitled Highlights from Oliver!. It includes five highly popular songs from the 1960 musical. The arrangement was written by Ted Ricketts (see below) in 2005.

Oliver! is a stage musical, with book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the 1838 novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. It premiered at the Wimbledon Theatre, southwest London in 1960 before opening in the West End, where it enjoyed a record-breaking long run.

Oliver! ran on Broadway, after being brought to the U.S. by producer David Merrick in 1963. Major London revivals played from 1977 to 1980, 1994 to 1998, 2008 to 2011 and on tour in the UK from 2011 to 2013. Additionally, its 1968 film adaptation, directed by Carol Reed, won six Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Oliver! has received thousands of performances in schools, becoming one of the most popular school musicals. In 1963 Lionel Bart received the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

The first song in the medley, “Food, Glorious Food”, occurs right at the beginning of the musical. The musical opens in the workhouse, as the half-starved orphan boys are entering the enormous dining hall for supper. They are fed only a watery paste called “gruel”, but find some solace by imagining a richer menu. Oliver gathers up the courage to ask for more, and is immediately apprehended by their taskmaster and condemned to harsh treatment.

The second song in the medley, “Where Is Love”, happens later in the First Act, after Oliver has been sold as an apprentice to an undertaker and is forced to sleep among the coffins.

The third song in the medley is probably the most popular song from the musical. After Oliver has been locked in a coffin for defending the memory of his mother, he escapes and is befriended by a boy named The Artful Dodger. There follows a large production number, featuring workers in various vocations, singing “Consider Yourself” to welcome Oliver to the working world.

The fourth song in the medley is “I’d Do Anything”. Oliver meets Nancy, an older member of the gang and the girlfriend of Bill Sikes, a brutal house-burglar whose abuse she endures because she loves him. Oliver bows deeply to Nancy and her friend, Bet, trying to be polite. All the boys laugh and mimic Oliver. Nancy singles out Dodger to demonstrate the way the rich people treat each other and they sing “I’d Do Anything”.

The fifth song in the medley, “As Long As He Needs Me”, occurs near the beginning of Act II. Oliver has been captured in an attempted robbery. Dodger tells the gang about Oliver's capture. Worried that Oliver will “blow upon them” (i.e. betray the gang to the authorities), Bill decides to abduct Oliver and bring him back to the hideout (and likely kill him), with Nancy's help. Nancy, who has come to care for Oliver, at first refuses to help, but Bill physically abuses her and forces her into obedience. In spite of this, Nancy still loves Bill and believes he loves her too, and sings “As Long as He Needs Me”.

The medley ends with a reprise of “Consider Yourself”, which may be a little tricky for our audience members to identify.

Arranger Ted Ricketts (b. 1945) is a highly creative music professional with national and international experience producing and directing live and recorded music. In his 24-year tenure as Music Director and Producer for Walt Disney World, Ted contributed to hundreds of stage shows, parades, concerts and atmospheric instrumental and vocal groups for Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. In addition, he produced recordings in major cities in Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States.

As an innovative composer, arranger and orchestrator, Ted's commissioned and published works have been heard on television, commercially produced albums, in Walt Disney theme parks, and performed live throughout the world. Mr. Ricketts holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Masters of Arts in Music from California State University at Long Beach. Early in his career, he served as Assistant Director of the marching band and concert band at Long Beach City College. At the high school level, Ted was Director of Music at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, CA.

In recent years, Ted has been a college instructor in Commercial Music Arranging at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Ted has recently relocated to Los Angeles, where he is currently a freelance music director, producer, composer and arranger.

The music for Highlights from Oliver was provided for the band by Ross Fjermedal and Susan Evans.