West End shows, pantomimes, musicals and tours: Jack had a busy stage career.
Jack’s professional stage career began in the autumn of 1964 when he joined the cast of the West End musical Oliver! although he didn’t get a chance to play the Artful Dodger until the 1968 film. However, he did briefly appear as Dodger in the 20 Years of Oliver! charity show in L.A. in 1987, and the character and songs followed him, one way or another, for the rest of his life.
Some highlights of Jack’s stage career are given individual entries below. He also appeared in various try-outs and one-off performances including, in July 1973, H R Pufnstuf Live at the Hollywood Bowl. This special show, which was filmed and later released on video, also featured Johnny Whittaker, Billy Barty, Sharon Baird and the Brady Bunch kids.
In 2003 he and Claire appeared in the first try-out of Leonard Whiting’s musical The Angel. Jack was also a pantomime favourite, with what one critic called ‘his special brand of cockney charm and cheekiness’, and appeared in several productions: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Lyceum Theatre, Crewe, 1991-2); Aladdin (Theatre Royal, Hanley 1994-5); Jack and the Beanstalk (Connaught Theatre, Worthing, 1995-6, the show when he and Claire Harding first met); and four productions of Cinderella (Nell Gwynn Theatre, Hereford, 1981-2; Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, 1999-2000; Greenwich Theatre, 2000-1; Swan Theatre, Worcester, 2004-5).