The Trusteeship

June 24 Special Access: “Twist: An American Musical”

We all remember Charles Dickens’ classic story of Oliver Twist.  On June 24, The Trusteeship got to experience a musical inspired by that classic story when we saw TWIST: An American Musical.

The evening began with dinner at Vertical Wine Bistro.   The restaurant is in the heart of Old Town Pasadena, up a small set of stairs that create an inviting and cozy atmosphere right from the start.  The dinner and wine pairing were wonderful and left us with just enough time to make the short drive to the charming Pasadena Playhouse for show time.

Trusteeship members enjoying dinner at Gale Ann Hurd's Vertical Wine Bistro

From the moment the curtains opened, TWIST proved to be a heartwarming, high-energy delight.  The story is set in New Orleans in 1928 and follows a young orphan, named Twist, as he searches for a family, a home, and love.  His journey is enhanced by music by Gary Prim and Grammy Award-winner Tena Clark as well as brilliantly choreographed numbers from the show’s director, Golden Globe and multi-Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen.  Some audience favorites included ‘Meat’, a lively number performed by Twist and his orphan companions as they commiserate over the lack of protein in their daily meal; ‘Coffin Nightmare’, a truly spine-chilling and visually stunning dance number portraying Twist’s visions during his night spent in a funeral home; and “One Day”, Twist’s plea of innocence to the court that turns from a heartfelt ballad to a hopeful, spirited dance number.

At the close of the show, the audience was abuzz, and you could see a spring in each person’s steps while she exited the theatre.  Member Judy Miller said of the show, “If you want to walk away feeling great, this is the show to see!”  We gathered in the playhouse’s courtyard, under twinkling lights, after the show.  The Spanish colonial architecture of the playhouse and courtyard only added to the charm and magic of the evening.  We were greeted there by Trusteeship member and Twist producer Willette Klausner, and later by Debbie Allen.

Producer Willette Klausner, Choreographer Debbie Allen, member Phoebe Beasley

The hard work put into the performance was also evident.  Frieda Caplan, member and long time friend of Willette’s, said that she has seen Willette’s hard work over the years on this show, and was excited to get to see this end product.

She explained, “I’ve always known Willette had talent, but this is just beyond words! She’s been working so hard on this and it is just an unbelievably amazing show!”


Most were still humming tunes from the show as we strolled to our cars.  Luckily, the show runs until July 17, so there is still time to experience TWIST: An American Musical!


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“Imagine an enriching experience and rare opportunity to meet, learn from, and share time with a college president, a top TV or movie producer, an artist, an author, a politician, a business or philanthropic leader, to name a few. That’s the magic of The Trusteeship. Friendships and support when life has dealt you a setback are added — precious gifts.”

– Caroline