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Pasadena Playhouse's New 'Twist' on Dickens Classic

Alaman Diadhiou and Tamyra Gray do the "Twist" in Pasadena (Photo: Jim Cox)
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A program note for "Twist: An American Musical," the new adaptation of Dickens's "Oliver Twist" set in 1920s New Orleans, suggests that audiences should "feel free to tap your toes to the music" and affirms that "it's okay if the [show's] book...moves you to tears or to laugh out loud." But these are unlikely responses to this show.

There is actually a lot of good work going on in the Pasadena Playhouse. TV and Broadway veteran Debbie Allen's choreography is consistently inventive and frequently exciting. Pre-teen song and dance man Alaman Diadhiou in the title role and marquee chanteuse Tamyra Gray as Delia, the orphanage lackey turned nightclub star, lead a very capable cast. And Todd Rosenthal's set and ESosa's costumes are stylishly bold.

But the play's the thing, and this one features bland music, by-the-book lyrics, and flat dialogue. No amount of spectacle and onstage talent can overcome that.

"Twist: An American Musical" runs through July 17 at the Pasadena Playhouse.