HCA’s ‘Oliver!’ starts 3-day run June 21

HCA’s ‘Oliver!’ starts 3-day run June 21
Ella Sommers Photography

“Oliver!,” the award-winning musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, will be staged June 21-23 at West Holmes High School by the Holmes Center for the Arts. Included in the cast are Rio Hochstetler, left, Hadlee Hochstetler, Elliott Yoder, Mackenlie Dodson, Carys Dodson, and Deadon Dodson.


Summertime is a great time for the family to enjoy live theater, and Holmes Center for the Arts has a family musical set to open on June 21. “Oliver!” is the award-winning musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel. It tells the story of Oliver Twist, a young orphan in Victorian England. Twist escapes the workhouse and finds himself among a group of pickpockets as he searches for the meaning of family.

“Oliver!” will be performed at the West Holmes High School auditorium, 10909 state Route 39, Millersburg, June 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. and June 23 at 2 p.m.

The “Oliver!” cast of 42 includes adults and children from more than six local schools. Millersburg resident Ty Meyers plays Mr. Bumble in his first appearance on stage since high school.

“It’s a fun group of people (in the cast),” Meyers said. “The show itself has iconic songs that I’ve listened to since I was a kid. Though the subject matter is a little dark at times, there are funny things too, so it’s a nice mix. That’s intriguing to me.”

Holmes Center for the Arts has been in existence for nine years. It generally presents one major musical each summer and a junior musical for middle school-age kids in the winter. Holley Johnson, executive director of the center, said the new event and performance venue opening soon will allow for expansion.

“We will be amping up our theater program because we will now have our own space to perform — a previous challenge to our growth these last years,” Johnson said. “Our hope is to add dinner theater productions in our new space, some nonmusical plays and eventually more musicals.”

HCA auditions are posted on the website and social media, via its newsletter, and with local print and radio announcements. There will be two major shows coming at the end of the year, open to community involvement.

“We will be performing Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in partnership with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Dec. 7 at our theater and ‘The Nutcracker’ Dec. 13-15 at Ohio Star Theater. Anyone in our community can join these productions. More information will be posted soon,” Johnson said.

Donations to the nonprofit art center are always welcome. Currently, the center is raising funds for the LED video wall for its new theater. The wall will be used for digital backdrops, films, movie nights and more. The HCA also is seeking donations for show sponsors and financial need scholarships. Donate online at www.holmescenterforthearts.org/donate or send a check to Holmes Center for the Arts, 5200 state Route 39, Millersburg, OH 44654.

Volunteers are always needed for tasks such as making costumes, handyperson work around the center and ushering shows. Ushers are still needed for “Oliver!” and to help load the show in and out. Ushers receive a free ticket to the show they usher. Call 330-473-2879 or email info@holmescenterforthearts.org.

Johnson said for everyone to stay tuned to a wider slate of events to come next year. “We are working on a full slate of theater productions in 2025 — setting budgets, applying for the music licenses and more — so the announcement on those shows will be coming soon,” she said.

Tickets for the upcoming performance of “Oliver!” are $18 for adults and $13 for children/students age 2-18. Reserved seat tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.holmescenterforthearts.org/. Tickets also will be available for purchase the day of the show. Holmes Center for the Arts’ production of “Oliver!” is sponsored by GeoHydro Supply and the Troy Miller Agency.

All proceeds from the nonprofit’s productions are used to cover show costs.

“Our goal for each major performance is just to break even,” Johnson said. “We want to provide the best arts experiences for the people of Holmes County as economically as possible. And if someone cannot afford to pay for a ticket or for classes at HCA, we have scholarships to help everyone to be able to participate in quality arts experiences.”

“Oliver!” is being directed by Grady Suggs Jr.

“The talent our cast has is ridiculous,” he said. “It’s unbelievable the amount of skilled performers who auditioned.”

Meyers said everyone should come. “See a lot of the local talent you didn’t know existed in Holmes County — well worth the price of admission.”

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