The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Mr. Brumble, and, of course, Oliver! Don’t miss the colorful characters in Cardinal Stage Company’s family holiday musical, ‘Oliver!’


Poor little Oliver just wanted some gruel.

When the musical Oliver! premiered at the New Theatre in London more than 55 years ago, it ran for 2,618 performances. With a cast so talented that not even a young Michael Caine could secure a role (he auditioned for the role of Bill Sikes), it’s no wonder the play became an immediate success. Charles Dickens’ novel was simply meant to be performed on-stage.

The story follows Oliver, an orphan whose whole world gets turned upside-down when he asks his boss, Mr. Bumble, for a little more gruel. After escaping punishment, he meets Artful Dodger, a local pickpocket. Oliver joins a group of thieves in Fagin’s gang — and gets caught in a whirlwind of trouble for a crime he didn’t commit.


This holiday season, Lionel Bart’s wildly successful play will be brought to you by Cardinal Stage Company! In this fun, lighthearted play for the entire family, Cardinal is celebrating 10 years of children contributing to the company. In partnership with multiple youth groups, Oliver! will feature a cast of 60 local kids.

Coen Michael Berin and Ian Shaw will play the role of Oliver. Shows will be performed by one of two casts — Berin belongs to the Dickens cast and Shaw to the Bart cast. Berin is a third-grader at St. Charles Borromeo, and, as well as being an outstanding singer, plays piano, violin, and the ukulele. Shaw, a fifth-grader at Binford Elementary, is a veteran Cardinal Stage actor, appearing as Michael Banks in last year’s production of Mary Poppins.

Appearing as the scalawag Fagin is Bloomington favorite Mike Price. The versatile actor has performed in Cardinal Stage productions such as Of Mice and Men, Hairspray, 1776, The 39 Steps, Les Misérables, The Grapes of Wrath, A Year with Frog and Toad, and many more. As well as acting, Price also serves as associate artistic director.

Get the full holiday experience by walking to the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater in festive, lit-up downtown Bloomington. Break out the popcorn and enjoy one of the most fun and heartwarming shows around. The show runs December 16-31. Get your tickets here!

This year’s production is brought to you by renowned director Randy White, musical genius Brian Samarzea, and visual revolutionary Dianne Buzzell — all of whom not only produced a great show but managed their little actors without ever withholding their gruel!

—Benjamin Beane