story and photos by Christine Coester, special to The City Wire
ROGERS — Rogers Little Theater is bringing to life one of the most well-known family-friendly musicals of all time — the beloved Oliver!
Final dress rehearsal was Thursday (Sept. 13) before the show opens this weekend (Sept. 15 &16). More performances are scheduled for Sept. 20-23 and Sept. 27-30. Show times are at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
With a performing cast of 26, the theater is alive with young talent and sweet voices singing all the songs for which the show is known, such as “Food, Glorious Food,” “I'd Do Anything,” “Where is Love?”, “Consider Yourself,” “As Long As He Needs Me,” “Who Will Buy?” and “Reviewing the Situation.”
RLT president Ed McClure directs the performance of Oliver! and certainly has his hands full with a cast of 12 youngsters, ranging from ages 9 to 15. Off stage during the final dress rehearsal, they were were quite an excitable and boisterous bunch, especially with all the post-performance endorphins.
Thomas Cicatiello gives a spectacular performance in the lead role of Oliver Twist. His mother, Deanna Cicatiello, first enrolled Tom in one of RLT’s Performing Arts Summer Camps, and now she said, “He wants to go to New York or Hollywood. It’s definitely his thing.” The frequent rehearsals have made RLT the family’s second home.
The fifth grader is not only an aspiring actor but is also a black belt in karate and a beginner pianist. When asked what he prefers above all, he was quick to say the theater. He described the backstage environment as a “big family.”
“We goof off back stage and get in trouble,” he smirked, looking around at his stage companions. When asked what he wants to do when he is older, without a moment’s hesitation, he opened his arms wide and enthusiastically said “Broadway!” beaming from ear to ear.
The performance of Oliver! kicks off RLT’s 27th season, which is expected to be one of the most significant in the theater’s history. with the out of state playwright, Oren Safdie’s, debut of Checks & Balances in November.
Tickets can be purchased at RLT’s website or by phone at (479)-631-8988.