Q & A with Mr. Ratoff about Oliver

Students sing at the Oliver callbacks on October 21. The cast list for the musical was revealed on October 25 (Photo by Addie Griggs).
Students sing at the Oliver callbacks on October 21. The cast list for the musical was revealed on October 25 (Photo by Addie Griggs).

Drama is a big part of our school, and this year the drama department is putting on a performance of the musical Oliver! This show is based on Charles Dickens’ second novel, Oliver Twist, which was published in 1834.

Mr. Ratoff is the director of Oliver! He shared some thoughts about this year’s production.

Why was Oliver chosen as the musical this year?

“This particular show was chosen because it is inclusive, and this year all grades in the middle school are able to participate, unlike past years. Oliver was a great chance to include as many people as possible… It also has a lot of interesting themes that relate to middle school children.”

Why are all of the grades participating this year instead of just the seventh and eighth graders?

“When we started doing musicals [instead of plays], we thought about the fifth and sixth grade but we weren’t sure whether they would be able to deal with the rehearsal schedule, so we had to work out the best way to include them and as a result came up with this solution… So from now on, we’re just going to be doing musicals which would include five, six, seven, and eight. So everybody would be able to get a chance to be on stage if they want to.”

What are you looking forward to?

“[I’m looking forward to seeing] everyone with a smile, and that they enjoyed the experience of working together and being able to understand more about what it is to be in a production.”

What is the theme being presented?

“When I choose a play or a musical, I also want something that is relevant to the cast members. So when we did Romeo and Juliet last year it was about relationships. When we were doing Seussical, it was about friendship. [The theme of Oliver will be home] because we live in an international community… everybody has a different idea of what home is. “

What is your goal for the cast members?

“[The goal is] to have everybody feel like they’re one family. That all the cast members feel that they’re a family that they’re one big ensemble group and they are happy and they’ve achieved the best they can possibly achieve.”

What’s your favorite song and who’s your favorite character?

“‘That’s your funeral’ because I just love the music, although the words are depressing.

I really like Fagin. He’s a character that most people would hate because they think he’s bad, but actually he’s taking care of orphan children. And I think, in a way he’s a very soft… and interesting person.”

Performance Dates for Oliver:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 3:45 PM

Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Friday, February 3, 2017 at 7:00 PM

About Annie Fisher ('24)

Staff Writer (2016-2017)

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