Cast, crew, and pit orchestra members talk rehearsals, roles, and little kids


Photo by Emily Pan

The Black Maskers cast and grew begin rehearsals for “Oliver!” shows next month.

Helena Yang, Arts Writer

This fall, the Black Maskers Drama Club will be staging a production of “Oliver!” The musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, is based on “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. Here are segments from interviews with the cast and crew.

Senior Chris Deriquito (Bumble)

What is challenging about bringing the script to life?

I think that Bumble is such a character that it’s really over the top; it’s challenging but it’s also really fun. Interacting with the kids that we have is also really fun because oh my god, they’re so cute!

Is there a particular scene that you’re looking forward to acting out?

Honestly, the very first scene is really hard to explain. I’m the meanest, but I like to think I’m really funny during that scene. Because I don’t know, like the name I’m bumbling around the whole orphanage and the scene with being mean to the kids is hard, but yea, it has to be done.

Junior Maylis Quesnel (Oliver)

What’s your favorite part about acting out your character?

I like the fact that, well first of all, playing a different gender is really interesting, but also playing someone who’s a lot younger is challenging. I have a little brother who’s Oliver’s age, so I try to look at him and copy what he does. The hardest part for me is probably the physicality, but what I enjoy most is also that part, which is becoming younger and a really different person.

Which scenes are you looking forward to acting out the most?

There’s this one scene where Oliver gets shut in a coffin after having beat up another guy, and I’m really looking forward to that one. 

It’s not often you get to see this many people coming together to make something beautiful, right? This is special to the people involved, so show your support.”

— senior Daniel Quintanilla

Junior Becca Howlett (Dodger)

What’s the hardest part of your character to act out?

Definitely the cockney accent. I play Dodger, so I have a really thick cockney accent, and so it’s very hard. It’s so different from how we usually speak.

What’s your favorite part about being part of the musical?

It’s definitely the people that you get to work with, not just in the cast. The director, I mean like Mrs. Eyler and Mrs. Davis and everybody, they’re all so great, and the assistant directors, and like everybody’s just really, really great. All the crew members, yeah. It’s definitely, you really get to meet a great bunch of people.

Can you describe a funny or memorable moment that has happened during rehearsal?

Oh gosh, there are a lot of things. We found a dead rat under the pit, that was kind of an interesting moment. But just like when we’ve been learning the music and stuff, we’re always laughing and joking and it’s just really, really fun.

Senior Daniel Quintanilla (pit orchestra)

What are you looking forward to during the musical and during rehearsal?

My favorite part of everything is messing it up horribly the first time we play it, and then somehow, at some point, like two weeks in, it’s suddenly perfect and everyone is feeling it. That’s my favorite part.

What would you say to someone to convince them to come to the musical?

It’s not often you get to see this many people coming together to make something beautiful, right? This is special to the people involved, so show your support.

Senior Anthony Naritsin (sound)

What’s challenging about working in sound crew?

Sound is pretty technical, so a lot of the time it’s issues that we don’t necessarily know what’s causing them. The hardest part is figuring out what’s wrong and trying to fix it.

What’s your favorite part about being a crew member in the musical?

You stay pretty long, and it is a lot of work, but I like seeing it come together. There’s a camaraderie because we’re all working together for a common goal, and I like that.

Senior Sherry Liang (student business manager & set decoration)

What exactly does student business manager do?

I manage the money, like with tech dinners and ticket sales.

What are you planning for set dec?

Something unique about the show for “Oliver!” is that it is two stories. We haven’t done a two-story set in a while; the last two-story set was Noises Off, which is a play I think three or four years ago? So it’s definitely something pretty cool. Another thing is that a lot of the scenes in the set have multiple doors, so sometimes there’s a door within a door, so there’s really a lot of hidden surprises that the audience may not be expecting, but yeah, it’s something pretty special.

Junior Vickie Tan (publicity)

How do you plan to advertise the musical?

In publicity we’re painting banners, two of them we’re hanging on either side of the stairs on main street, and then we also hang up a lot of posters and stuff around Rockville Town Center.

How do you teach newcomers to do crew work?

We sketch out our designs and things, and then we paint over them. In the beginning, we have a huge brainstorm of different ideas for what we want to do, and then from there we branch out to t-shirt design and the banners. We also do social media. Follow @blackmasters on Instagram.

“Oliver!” showtimes are Nov. 9, 16, and 17 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online at or at the door.

Cover photo by Emily Pan.