Show History



Oliver! is a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Oliver Twist. With music, book and lyrics by Lionel Bart, the story follows a young orphan as he navigates Victorian England from workhouse, to undertaker’s apprentice to pickpocketing in London. The original story was produced as a monthly serial from 1837 to 1839.


Oliver! premiered in the West End on June 30, 1960, where it ran for an impressive 2,618 performances. It premiered on Broadway at the Imperial theatre on January 6, 1963, and ran for 774 performances.  It has since been revived in London in 1977, 1994 and 2009, with a tour launching in the UK in 2011. The show had a Broadway revival in 1994.

The musical has been performed around the world, including productions in Australia, Singapore, Estonia, Israel, Belgium, Syria and Dubai.

Cultural Influence

  • The musical inspired a 1968 film of the same name. It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning six, including Best Picture.
  • In 2008, the BBC produced a reality talent show, "I’d Do Anything," to find the next Nancy and three young actors to play Oliver for the 2008 West End revival.
  • The musical has been translated into Dutch.


  • Samantha Barks, Eponine in the 2012 Les Misérables film, was second-runner-up for the role of Nancy on the BBC show, "I’d Do Anything." She assumed the role for the 2011 UK tour, but had to depart early to begin filming Les Misérables.
  • Jodie Prenger, who won the role of Nancy on BBC’s "I’d Do Anything," had already known reality show success, having won the second season of the UK’s "The Biggest Loser."
  • Academy Award winning Actor Michael Caine lost the role of Bill Sikes in the original London production.
  • Lionel Bart did not know how to read or write music, so composer Eric Rogers transcribed the melodies as Lionel hummed them.