Photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons.

Charity Randall Theatre at Stephen Foster Memorial
Through December 19
Various times

The second novel by Charles Dickens inspired a hit musical and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning 1968 film.

Photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons.
Photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons.

Now, the iconic story of Oliver Twist makes its U.S. premiere in a production with local ties and significance for one Pittsburgh-based theater company. If you have yet to catch PICT Classic Theatre‘s Oliver Twist—which opened on December 3rd—you have six more chances to experience this timeless tale of redemption, charity and survival.

Set against the backdrop of gritty, bleak Victorian London, the play revolves around young Oliver Twist, an orphan who gets caught up in a dangerous world of criminals, pickpockets and prostitutes.

Photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons.
Photo by Suellen Fitzsimmons.

Audiences will meet Dickens’ classic characters—from child gang leader The Artful Dodger and greedy old Fagin, to sympathetic prostitute Nancy and viscous Bill Sykes. Commissioned by the Dublin-based Gate Theatre, Oliver Twist was adapted for the stage by PICT’s very won artistic and executive director, Alan Stanford, who also directs the play.

The family-friendly play features a dynamic cast of PICT veterans and newcomers. Will Sendera, a sixth grade student at Pittsburgh CAPA, makes his PICT debut staring as Oliver. The play also stars James FitzGerald as Fagin, Karen Baum as Nancy, Tony Bingham as Bill Sykes, Martin Giles as Mr. Brownlow, David Cabot as Mr. Bumble and Bridget Connors as Mrs. Corney. Portraying The Artful Dodger are Charity Hipple, Carolyn Jerz, Elliot Pullen and Simon Colker.

Just in time for the holidays, Dickens’ timeless tale about the spirit of charity also holds deep meaning for PICT, which has recently undergone staff layoffs, production cancellations and an uncertain future. Stanford originally chose to stage Oliver Twist in December because of the success of Great Expectations in 2014, and because of the strong ties between Dickens and the holidays. Now, the very spirit of giving that’s embodied by Oliver Twist holds greater meaning for PICT, as the production was funded primarily through the generosity of donors. In order to put on the production, Stanford had to raise an additional $65,000 in just two weeks.

Oliver Twist is appropriate for ages 9 and up.

Purchase tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in December feature.


Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.