8:30 a.m., May 28)
'Wizard of Oz' an all ages extravaganza
and her friends prepare to enter the Emerald City during OYP's presentation of
'The Wizard of Oz' on this week at the Orléans Theatre on Centrum Blvd.
movies go, The Wizard of Oz is one of those endearing classics that has
managed to transcend generations.
a family has spent an evening curled up on the couch together to watch Dorothy,
Toto, the Tinman, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion follow the yellow brick
road to Emerald City in search of the great and all powerful Oz.
very few people have ever seen the story told on stage, which is too bad because
The Wizard of Oz is suited perfectly for the theatre and even more so musical
theatre as evident by the current OYP production being staged at the Orléans
Theatre on Centrum Boulevard.
OYP version stays true to the original story save for a few tweaks such as the
Tinman being a Tinwoman, ditto the great and powerful Oz. So indelible is the
impression the original 1939 movie leaves in one's psyche, several of the cast
members during the Friday night performance suffered momentary gender confusion.
one point, Jennifer Blodgett, who plays the Tinwoman, mistakenly refers to herself
as the Tinman and then quickly corrects herself with Tinwoman and Tinperson.
I found the gender twists refreshing, especially the decision to cast the Wizard
of Oz as a woman.
element that the younger members of the audience got a kick out of was the bunch
of yellow squares and red tissue paper poppies that were handed out as everyone
took their seats.
the play proceeded, the audience members were encouraged to wave the yellow squares
to symbolize the yellow brick road, while the tissue paper poppies were held aloft
as Dorothy and her friends neared the Emerald City.
audience member was also handed a lyric sheet with an invitation to sing along
to some of the songs which proved to be very popular.
most people are all too familiar with the story, I won't get into the plot except
to say that the production is easy to follow along even for the youngest of audience
members. As for the performance itself, the OYP gang did a bang up job. Overall
their allocution was superb. Every bit of dialogue was audible even at the back
of the house and the songs could easily be heard as well.
for some of the individual performances, Laurel Chester made a perfect Wicked
Witch of the West. She was mean and nasty and utterly despicable. From the moment
she stepped on the stage you were hoping she would come to no good. James Perry
was also superb as the Scarecrow. He seemed like a natural on the stage and was
one of the strongest singers in the cast.
Blodgett as the Tinwoman and Aileen Donati as the Cowardly Lion were also both
quite good. The Cowardly Lion is my favourite character in "the Wizard"
and Donati fit the role to a tee.
my choice for future star in the making goes to Kayla Carman who played Dorothy.
Carman's performance was absolutely outstanding. It seemed like she was made for
the role. I especially loved the line when she's asked early on in the play whether
she's a good witch or a bad witch and she responds, "I'm not a witch at all.
I'm Dorothy Gale from Kansas."
stage presence blew me away and that was before she sang her first number. She
had complete command of both the stage and the audience and appeared as though
she'd played the role at least a dozen times before.
rest of the cast were excellent as well including Katie Webster, who played the
Glinda the good witch and Celia Hogan who played Toto. The chorus consisted of
Caylin Finkelman, Megan Moffat, Keri Poupore and Victoria Sawyer.
also to director Clare Giuliani, stage manager Gabbie Virr, accompanist Patricia
Messier and technical wiz Andrew Moore who came up with all the lighting effects
The Wizard of Oz ends today with two more performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. So
if you want to catch one of the shows just follow the yellow brick road to the
Orléans Theatre at 255 Centrum Blvd. Tickets are just $8 per person and
they're available at the door.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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