‘Oliver’ cast brings music to hospital patients | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Oliver’ cast brings music to hospital patients

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal Hazel Parkins, right, a Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center patient, claps as "Oliver!" cast members from the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and Nevada Shakespeare Company sing in her room Sunday afternoon. To view a photo album of the event visit www.nevadaappeal.com.

It was a chance to perform and a chance to give something back.

Fifteen cast members – mostly children – from the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Oliver” showed up at the waiting room of Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center on Sunday to give a performance for patients and their visitors.

Catherine Atack, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, said the full cast that included 50 children performed the musical Dec. 9 at the Resort at Squaw Creek, giving two performances that allowed all 50 children to participate.

“Our philosophy was any child that auditioned must not be turned away,” she said, adding the children performing at the hospital all volunteered to do so.

“Because they worked so hard, we decided to do something that gave back to the community,” she said. “And Carson Tahoe Healthcare is a sponsor of the festival.”

The ability of the children impressed the patients who listened to the show. Among the numbers from “Oliver” the group performed were “Food, Glorious Food,” “Pick a Pocket or Two,” “I’d Do Anything,” “Reviewing the Situation,” and “Consider yourself at Home.”

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“I think it’s terrific,” said patient Jean Amos of Carson City. She had seen the musical before, and was impressed with the group’s ability. “They did a wonderful job. The children’s voices were great.”

Chloe Firpo, 9, of Truce, said she usually played the role of Charlie, but for the show at Carson Tahoe she was Oliver.

“I love being down here,” she said.

After the show in the waiting room, the performers sang in the hallways of several departments, within earshot of the patients too ill to make it to the waiting room show.

Hospital spokeswoman Cheri Glockner said the staff and patients were excited to have the group come down to perform, and that it was particularly good for the patients.

“When you’re in the hospital over the Christmas holidays, you really need to be in the hospital,” she said. “We had the Virginia City elementary school come down last year, but this is the first professional acting group.”

She said the hospital got many requests from groups that want to sing Christmas carols at the facility, but only accepted a few.

“We try to pick and choose,” she said. “We don’t want more than a few,” because of the seriousness of the patients’ illnesses.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 881-7351.