Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2002 Page: 38
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Homecoming Musical: Oliver!
A n orphan, pickpockets and two
dozen faculty children set the stage
for this year's Homecoming musical,
Oliver! is the 1960 musical by Lionel Bart
based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver
Twist. It tells the story of an orphan boy's
troubles in harsh 19th century England.
Many alumni, parents, friends and Abilene
community members came back for Homecoming
to "Paint the Town Purple" and attend
the three performances held in the Abilene
Civic Center over the weekend.
Steven Pounders, director of Oliver!,
replaced Adam Hester as chair of the Theatre
Department after Hester decided to take a
year-long break from his duties to focus on
teaching and directing.
Oliver! was chosen by the department for
the 2001 Homecoming musical last December.
Pounders said the cast and crew found a
few surprises when the rental set for Oliver!
"We found that the set had many nooks
and crannies that we never knew existed from
the set pictures," Pounders said. "We rearranged
some of our stage positions when
we found the pickpockets and children could
fit into the chimney mantels."
Children of ACU faculty and staff, ranging
in age from 7-14, joined the cast as pickpockets.
Seventh grader Emily Rankin, daughter of
Dr. Bill and Sherri Rankin, professor and
instructor of English respectively, played a
pickpocket. The Franklin Middle School student
said it wasn't the first time she'd worked
"I was in Steve's Shakespeare production,
and I wanted to do another one," Emily said.
"This time I had a bunch of friends from
school in Oliver!"
Oliver Twist, played by Veronica Matta,
senior theatre major from Abilene, is an institutionalized
orphan who runs away and falls
in with a gang of pickpockets. The music for
Oliver! was conducted by Natalie Steele, firstyear
instructor in the Music Department.
Jeanette Lipford, assistant professor emerita
of voice, served as the vocal director.
Allison Siebert, senior music theatre major
from Grapevine, played Mrs. Baldwin, a maid
Oliver meets along the way. Allison said a lot
of work went into putting the musical together.
"The cast began auditioning last April,"
Allison said. "We practiced four hours a day,
five days a week, for many weeks."
Allison said although this was the biggest
set the cast and crew had ever worked with,
the musical did not crunch her study time.
"The set took a while to assemble, but the
costumes were rented this year," she said.
"Since we had a lot of children in the musical,
this came to our advantage because we didn't
have to make 20 extra costumes."
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Abilene Christian University. Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2002, yearbook, 2002; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39886/m1/41/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.