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Oliver, JR Shows off what Youth Can Do!

By Diane Bedard Posted on November 17, 2021

On Saturday, November 13, I joined my neighbors for the afternoon performance of Oliver, JR by Live Oak Theatre’s Acorn team. Our group six ranged in age from seniors to three years old. We all recommend seeing this performance for yourself!

The cast of this musical production ranged in age from 7 to 18 years old. Why do I bring this up? Because the performance was so professional that I found it hard to believe that the choreographer, director, set design, and costumers were not adults!

The streets of Victorian England came to life as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. The main character, played by Titus Richards, escapes to London and finds acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets. When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, the benevolent victim, 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.

Oliver, JR Shows off what Live Oak Theatre’s Youth Team Can Do!

Marilyn Tate, who was part of our group said, “Outstanding! The professionalism and dedication to the arts were a joy to experience. It is wonderful to see such commitment to the arts in our community,” when I asked her how she felt about the show.

I could, of course, see that the performers were young, but the voices, especially of the leads, were truly a joy to the ears. There were approximately 30 children and teens singing, dancing, and acting in Oliver, JR. Many had multiple roles, including costume and character changes, but they were so well done that I did not know this until I read my playbill.

The energy in this show contrasts with the drab London times it takes place in.

Daxon McCoy, a homeschooled 10-year old who is in the fifth grade played Noah Claypole, First Man, Police 1, and a Market Seller. He likes acting and playing outdoors.

The storyline went along just like something I would have paid a lot more to see at the Straz Center in Tampa, and I was truly impressed. And so glad that my neighbors got to enjoy this small, but mighty theatre group in Brooksville.

The theatre is small and intimate, and the performance was right on. I am still a bit in awe of how much talent is in Florida’s Nature Coast and how inspirational it is to see our youth create something so good.

The energy in this performance was part of what made it worthwhile.

Do yourself a favor and check out the video of the final scene from the first act of Oliver, JR. Then schedule yourself a visit to see one of their performances. Most of the seats for this weekend are sold out, but look over the schedule here and choose one of their future shows. You will be glad you did!

The finale of the first act of Oliver, Jr. by the Acorn Theatre. The two lead singers are 14 and 18 years old! Acorn Theatre is Live Oak Theatre’s Youth Theatre program for ages 7 to 18.

Lexi Allocco is the Director of this fantastic show, and this production is her directorial debut. Lexi is passionate about performing. The 17-year-old has been in many productions at Live Oak Theatre.

About the Acorn Theatre

Acorn Theatre is Live Oak’s Youth Theatre program for students ages 8-18.   This performance class meets to rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00- 6:30. The class will run in 8-week periods with 6 performances at the end of each term.  The Acorn Theatre works together to produce and perform 3 shows each year as well as participate in Brooksville’s annual Tree Lighting.  

The Acorn Theatre production team consists of rotating Directors/Instructors who are assisted by a team of apprentices in the areas of Stage Manager, Assistant Director, costumes, choreography, lighting, sound, music, and set design. Parent volunteers are always welcomed in these areas as well.  

Acorn Theatre apprentices are chosen from regular performers of Live Oak who have “grown-up” on our stage.  They assume leadership roles in the production and mentor the students of the Youth Theatre.  

About Live Oak Theatre Company (LOT)

Live Oak Theatre Company (LOT) is a not-for-profit 501 (C) (3) repertory company of local artists, located at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, 21030 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville, FL 34601.  The Live Oak Theatre Company exists to enrich families, individuals, and the community by providing positive artistic experiences in the Performing Arts – including excellent, affordable, and edifying family-friendly entertainment, performance, and educational opportunities for Theatre patrons and participants of all ages. 

For more information about the Live Oak Theatre Company, including sponsorship and audition opportunities, go to www.LiveOakTheatre.org, email  [email protected] , or call 352-593-0027.   Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LiveOakTheatre.