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Davis, California

Monday, April 22, 2024

Davis Musical Theatre Company presents ‘Oliver!’

Davis Musical Theatre Company’s latest production Oliver!, based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, will premiere on Nov. 8, and will be running through Dec. 1.

The timeless holiday tale recounts the story of the orphan, Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is sold to an undertaker. He escapes and finds solace with a group of juvenile delinquents, who teach him how to pickpocket in the busy streets of London. Along the way, he meets a group of characters with unforgettable personalities.

Located at 607 Pena Drive, the play will be performed at the Davis Musical Theatre Company. The theater was meticulously designed by its co-founders, directors, choreographers and husband-wife team, Steve and Jan Isaacson. Built in November 2005, the Isaacsons hired contractors to design their state-of-the-art facility, which houses a 238-seat stadium, has space for a full orchestra, a complete costume closet and underground prop storage.

“Everything at the theater is entirely made by our company,” Steve Isaacson said. “My wife and I designed the building and were able to find wonderful people that were willing to volunteer their time with lights, costumes and stage props. Everything we have, we have made, and we recycle all our props. We’re so blessed to have all these people who volunteer so many hours of their time for the company.”

Not only are the behind-the-scenes crew all volunteers, but so are all the actors involved in the Davis Musical Theater Company. All 25 actors in the production of Oliver!, ranging in age from young children to adults, practice five days a week.

“We chose to do this show because it involves seniors, adults, teens and kids. What’s nice is that although it is a childhood tale, it is a musical that appeals to all ages, and requires actors of all ages as well. We have a lot of real-life families in the show, so it’s fitting,” Isaacson said. “It also happens to be my wife’s favorite book. She basically adapts the movie representation, but in musical form, while adding a couple of her own twists.”

Jan Isaacson carefully selected the actors for their respective roles in the show, such as Brooke Flores, who plays the character of Charlotte, the undertaker’s daughter. A UC Davis alumna, Flores recently joined the Davis Musical Company, and Oliver! will be her first performance with them.

“It’s been such a great outlet being able to play the character of Charlotte, because I feel like I’m not anything like her in real life,” Flores said. “I’m not at all bossy or particularly flirtatious in reality, so it’s fun to get to come out and get to play someone who is totally different. It’s also just a lot of fun to get to play the stereotypical teenage girl.”

Flores, like many of the other actors in the musical, is not at all trained as a singer. Also, none of the actors use any microphones, so they rely purely on the power of their voices to project throughout the theater.

Mike Mechanic, who has had a 20-year long acting career, plays the role of Fagin, the conniving career criminal who trains the group of children to pickpocket. Mechanic discussed his role in the musical.

“Fagin is, in a sense, the quintessential bad guy with a good heart,” Mechanic said. “The show totally takes on a different atmosphere when Fagin steps on the scene. I’ve only recently gotten into musicals, but what I have noticed is, that in big musicals like this one, you have to be the kind of character that people want to see. I have to act like the kind of Fagin that people are accustomed to seeing, which is fun and exciting.”

Mechanic is not only an actor, but is also a producer for CBS in Sacramento. Being fully immersed in film daily, he spends a lot of time with actors, and he described the Davis Musical Theatre Company as being full of talent.

“There is honestly more talent on this stage than any other theater company I have worked for in the past,” Mechanic said. “There are people in this production that could be professional actors, if they wanted to be. The beauty of this is that everyone does this for fun. This is our outlett.”

Tickets are from $9 to $18 and can be purchased online at dmtc.org.


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