One Stage Family Theatre, a local community youth theater troupe, will transform the Elks Theatre’s stage, 117 E. Gurley St., into the streets of Victorian England for three performances, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, and at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.

A musical theatre masterpiece, Oliver showcases the talents of a large ensemble cast as they bring these classic characters and scores to life. The Tony and Olivier award-winning show is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It is widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike.

Based on the Charles Dickens novel, “Oliver Twist,” Lionel Bart’s classic musical follows Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse who becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. Oliver escapes to London and finds acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly Fagin.

When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, Mr. Brownlow takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, Fagin employs the sinister Bill Sikes and the sympathetic Nancy to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family.

According to co-director Shana Lujan, the play deals with important issues of the time period that are still relevant today.

“The storyline is such that it deals with orphans, which a lot of kids relate to because a lot of them have either foster care or things like that,” Lujan said. “There is an element of a domestic abuse situation. One of the ‘bad guys,’ Bill Sikes, is abusive towards his girlfriend, but it’s also got the redemption arc in that Fagin has actually got a heart of gold and Oliver does find his way back to his family.

“So that part is relatable as well because it does have kind of a happy ending where the bad people are punished and the good people get rewarded at the end.”

Lujan explained that the character she plays, Mrs. Sowerbery, is a nagging wife of a mortician.

“My character is the wife of the mortician and we are the first people that buy Oliver after he is kicked out of the orphanage for asking for more food,” Lujan said. “This character is fun because she is a very stereotypical fish-wife type character. She likes to nag her husband and say that he’s always in the wrong.”

Parker Anderson, the actor playing Mr. Bumble, explained that his character is the beadle of the workhouse where all the orphans stay.

“Beadle is an antiquated name for a person of official position who presides over groups or things like an orphanage,” Parker said. “Mr. Bumble is kind of a villainous character as he sells the orphans off to people who need children for hard labor.”

The play gives Anderson an opportunity to sing on stage, something he doesn’t normally get to do in his performances.

“I haven’t appeared in very many musicals on stage,” Anderson said. “I’ve done a lot of community theater, but I haven’t done much solo singing. I think my only previous solo singing was in the stage productions of The Addams Family that were recently produced.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 928-777-1370, or visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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