Forty-one actors of all ages take the stage starting tonight as Vive Les Arts Theatre in Killeen presents the classic Charles Dickens novel-turned-musical “Oliver!”

The show, sponsored by Ken and Suzi Chapman, presents the tale of Oliver Twist, an orphan who faces hardships and sets out on a journey to find a home.

“There’s a little bit for everybody,” said director Hayley Dugger. “There’s a lot of cute, fun things for the kids and stories that people can go home thinking about.”

“Oliver!,” written and composed by Tony Award winner Lionel Bart, is unlike most children’s tales as it tackles profound social issues.

“There are a lot of really deep themes in this production that we normally don’t address in children’s theater,” Dugger said. “I think it’s cool that we can address such heavy topics in a way that is understandable to children.”

The musical features two acts and 22 songs, including “Food Glorious Food,” “Consider Yourself” and “As Long As He Needs Me.”

Twelve-year-old Scott Parks of Copperas Cove plays Oliver. More than 100 local performers auditioned for the show.

Last week, Dugger said she was surprised by how comfortable the cast is working together.

“Normally at this point we’re stressing, but right now we’re just having fun and enjoying it,” she said.

Theater manager Charlotte O’Brien said pre-performance tickets have sold well but many more were still available as of Thursday.

“Our children’s theater usually sells out and we’re hoping to do the same for this performance,” she said.

The curtain lifts at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 19. On Mother’s Day, all moms in the audience will have the chance to win a prize.

“Kids will write little notes when they come in about their moms and we’ll choose a winner from them,” Dugger said. “Different local businesses have donated items and we’ll have door prize giveaways.”

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (254) 526-9090. They can also be purchased from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at the Vive Les Arts box office, 3401 S. W.S. Young Drive, Killeen.


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