Laurie and I enjoyed a super evening at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, one of the Burbs of Chicago. A production of Oliver! was the bill-of-faire and it was really good.
The facility opened in 1984, and named after the historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane, originally built in London’s Covent Garden in the 17th century. Part of a chain of locales built by Tony DeSantis, an American entrepreneur who was opposed to Mafia involvement in Chicago show business.In 1958, he was involved in an FBI sting against the Chicago mob.
Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist to draw attention to the grotesque inequities between the classes, and as a protest ot England’s Poor Laws during Victorian England. Lionel Bart adapted a musical, premiering in London’s West End in 1960. A movie was produced eight years later, featuring Ron Moody as Fagin, Shani Wallis as Nancy, Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes, Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger, and Mark Lester as Oliver. The Academy Award-winning film was directed by the iconic Carol Reed. It won six Oscars, including Best Picture.
The local production was magnificent; it had crisp direction, intriguing renditions of the musical numbers, and imaginative choreography. The children in the ensemble were really great, as was Heidi Kettenring who played Nancy, and John Reeger as Fagin. The standout was Brady Tutton as Oliver. He’s a Wisconsin native, who had a strong resemblence to Mark Lester when he was a tot. Oliver! is playing through June 2nd.
We also spent lunch with the Rotary Club of Chicago O’Hare. Rotary International has its roots in the Windy City, when it was formed just after the turn-of-the-century. My 30th opportunity to chat with Rotarians had a special feel, due to the historic nature of the origins of this charitable organization.
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