Middle schooler plays Oliver Twist on stage

Eleven-year-old Celest Baker will play the part of Oliver Twist in Showtime Productions/Monumental Events’ production “Oliver!” The musical will feature more than 60 amateur actors and several professional actors, including Raymond McLeod from New York City, who will have the role of Bill Sikes.

Celest Baker learned how to speak with an English accent. She spent months memorizing dozens of lines and several songs. Baker even plans to cut her brown hair to look more like a little boy.

Baker, 11, will play orphan Oliver Twist in the upcoming Showtime Productions/Monumental Events rendition of “Oliver!” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21–22, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at Robinson Theatre in the Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University.

“Please sir, I want some more,” Baker said, showing off her accent in one of the more memorable lines from the show.

It’s one of “more than 47 lines” Baker learned for the play, but “I haven’t counted,” she said.

Baker, a sixth-grader at East Middle School, will be joined on stage by more than 60 amateur actors and several professional actors, including New York City’s Raymond McLeod.

Terri Schafer, owner of Showtime Productions, is directing “Oliver!” and tickets are available through Monumentalevents.com or by calling 800-626-TIXS (8497). Tickets range in price from $22–$44, depending on seat location.

“Oliver!” is a musical adapted from the classic Charles Dickens book about the orphan Oliver Twist, who is swept into a band of pickpockets in 19th century London.

In addition to his appearance in “Oliver!”, McLeod will host a benefit concert with the young actors from “Oliver!” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at Performing Arts Center of the Grand Valley, 448 Main St. Proceeds will benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.

Cost is $20.12 — signifying the end of the year — and includes a catered dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $10 without dinner.

People can RSVP by calling Schafer at 270-8533.


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