This past Sunday afternoon I caught the final performance of "Oliver!," the summer musical brought to the stage by Arts on the Avenue, a surprisingly talented and versatile group of local little theatre performers and musicians. It was an enjoyable outing into the area culture scene.
As those who have stopped by this blog on past occasions are likely to know, I am an unabashed fan and supporter of the theatrical arts. I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to have seen much in the way of professional theatre, as well as some awfully good school and community productions. If a show is being staged anywhere in the area, I generally make a strong effort to see it.
The little theatre group here in West Plains has put on a summer musical for the past fifteen years. I wish that I had been around to have seen them all, but being recently retired to the community - just me and my chickens - this summer's show, "Oliver!," was the first local effort that I have attended. It was a treat!
I had been to a very good production of "Oliver!" put on by a little theatre group in Arizona a couple of years ago, but the West Plains version of the same show out-shined the one in Phoenix by every conceivable standard. The West Plains venue, the old Avenue Theatre, a former movie house that sorely needs a face lift, is a wonderful setting for a live show - comfortable seats, and the acoustics are great!
The cast, carefully assembled by Director Jordan Hall, was able to master the cockney accent, and each member of the ensemble really belted out their songs. Everyone had fun - the people on the stage as well as those of us in the audience.
I am already anxious to see next year's production of whatever Director Hall chooses to stage, and I will definitely get there before the final performance!
Thank you, Arts on the Avenue, for bringing a rousing version of "Oliver!" to West Plains. Great work, guys!