Broadway Production (1963)

Trivia & History

Michael Goodman is heard as The Artful Dodger on the cast recording of this production, which was recorded early during the long pre-Broadway tour. By the time the production reached Broadway, David (aka Davy) Jones was playing the role. Both Goodman and Jones had been replacements in the role in London.

Bruce Prochnik, playing the title role, was another London replacement who came to Broadway in the role he had played in London. Prior to playing the role on Broadway, Prochnik had played Oliver in a 13-part British television dramatization of the Dickens novel. In that television production, Willoughby Goddard played Mr. Bumble, the same character he would play in the Broadway production of the musical. Goddard seems not to have appeared in the London production of the musical.

In the song list for the production, the character called Mrs. Corney in the cast list was referred to as Widow Corney.

Some online sources report 8 previews. According to Variety, however, there were 14, starting on Tuesday, December 25, 1962 — 6 previews during the first week, and 8 during the second week.  

The production had originally been scheduled to open on Thursday, December 27. Producer David Merrick postponed the opening till Sunday, January 6, in the hope that the strike against New York newspapers that was then in progress would be resolved by that date. It wasn't.

At the time, it was uusual for a Broadway show to open on a Sunday. According to Variety, the reason that the rescheduled opening was on a Sunday was "to avoid a reshuffling of performances which have already been sold." The show was heavily pre-sold to theatre parties, and it played to capacity houses during previews.

It seems likely that there was no preview performance on the date originally scheduled for the opening. This would explain why the production played 6 previews rather than 7 that first week.

Four original London cast members were in the Broadway cast: Georgia Brown as Nancy, Danny Sewell as Bill Sikes, Hope Jackman as Mrs. Corney, and Barry Humphries as Mr. Sowerberry. Humphries was not originally cast in the Broadway production. He joined the company very late during the pre-Broadway tour, replacing Frederic Warriner in the role.

The song "That's Your Funeral," which was in the London production, was not in the show during most of the tryout. When Humphries joined the cast headed for Broadway, the song was added to the American production. This explains why the song is not on the Broadway cast recording. As mentioned in another note on this page, the recording was made early in the long pre-Broadway tour.

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