Incredible local talent creates a hit for PSC production of Oliver!



Oliver (Donny Ness) receives an inspection from Mrs. Sowerberry (Danise Whitlock) as Mr. Bumble (Kevin Shreve) and Mr. Sowerberry (Robert Godfrey) also size him up.  Remaining performances for Oliver! at WVU Potomac State include March 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.; and March 26 at 2:30 p.m. in the Church-McKee Arts Center on the Potomac State Campus.  

The remarkable voices of the orphaned Oliver Twist; career criminal, Fagin; pickpocket, The Artful Dodger; professional burglar, Bill Sikes; and soft-hearted, Nancy all come together to create a spectacular performance of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! which is currently being staged at WVU Potomac State College in the Church-McKee Arts Center in Keyser.  Beginning with the opening performance of “Food Glorious Food,” the audience realizes that they’re in for a musical treat.

When experienced thespian, Donny Ness, in the role of Oliver Twist, timidly asks the play’s famous line, “Please sir, I want some more,” the character’s charm and child-like innocence clearly shines.  Ness, a student at Braddock Middle School in Cumberland, has been performing in plays around the area for several years.  A few of his favorite roles: as Flounder in The Little Mermaid; as the Angel Gabriel in Coney Island Christmas; as Pugsley in The Addams Family; and as LeFou in Beauty and the Beast.       

The role of Fagin, a conniving career criminal who takes in homeless children and trains them to be pick pockets, is performed by Stephen Gumtz, who states, “I’m delighted to return to Potomac State’s stage in the show that first sparked my love of theatre.”  Gumtz previously took on the role of Noah Claypole in Apple Alley’s production of Oliver!  He has also appeared as Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar and as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family.

The character of The Artful Dodger, the cleverest of Fagin’s pickpockets, is performed by 13-year-old Guy Witt from Frostburg, who delivers an incredible rendition of “Consider Yourself” as he and the other pickpockets welcome Oliver into their lair.  Witt, a student at Mount Savage Middle School, has been studying piano and voice for the past six years, which also served him well when he performed the role of Michael Banks in Potomac State’s previous production of “Mary Poppins.”   Additionally, Witt recently participated in the 2017 Maryland Junior All State Choral Festival.

Villain Bill Sikes is performed by Jesse Wilson, who captivates the audience with his compelling strong voice as he snakes his way in and out of scenes.  Wilson is a general studies major at Potomac State and a graduate of Keyser High School.  He appeared as Motel in last year’s production of Fiddle on the Roof at the College; as Jesus in Apple Alley’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar; and as St. Jimmy in Front and Centre’s production of American Idiot.    

The loving, yet morally complex role of Nancy, is executed by the talented Lisa-Anna Maust who has also performed in the PSC productions of Fiddler on the Roof (as Hodel) and in Mary Poppins (as Miss Andrew).  She’s performed in community productions of American Idiot and Into the Woods as well. 

The acting and voice performances of the other cast members were equally exceptional and this is one production you won’t want to miss.  

Oliver! is in its final week and will be presented March 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.; and March 26 at 2:30 p.m. in the Church-McKee Arts Center on the Potomac State Campus. 

General admission tickets can be purchased in advance at the following locations: Cumberland-The Book Center; Frostburg-Main Street Books; Keyser-BB&T Bank, Chessie Federal Credit Union, First United Bank, and Grant County Bank.  Reserved seating and general admission tickets can be purchased online by clicking the Oliver! icon and following the directions; they can also be purchased at the door.

For more information, click here.