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Upcoming events


TAPROOM 260 presents Keener and their eclectic mix of high energy classic and alternative rock favourites live and in concert at 260 Centrum Blvd. in the Centrum Plaza starting at 8 p.m. For more information visit facebook.com/Taproom260/events/.

FREE FAMILY SKATE – The Orléans PC Riding Association will be hosting its 2nd Annual Free Family Day Skate on from 2-4pm at the Ron Racette Arena at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex on Tenth Line Road, Free hot beverages served and prize giveaways too!

THE ORLÉANS BREWING CO. presents Oyster Wednesdays every Wednesday from 6-9 pm. The Orléans Brewing Co. is located at 4380 Innes Rd. near the Innes Road McDonalds.

STRAY DOG BREWING CO. presents The Whiskey Ghost live in their taproom located at 501 Lacolle Way in the Taylor Creek Business Park. For more information visit facebook.com/StrayDogBrewingCompany.

THE QUEENSWOOD HEIGHTS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION presents its annual Winter Festival from 1-4pm in Queenswood Ridge Park on Kennedy Lane East. Enjoy sliding, snow-based games, face-painting and a variety of activities on the outdoor rink.

THE STRAY DOG BREWING COMPANY AND PANDAMONIUM PRODUCTIONS present Nature Pleads Revenge, The Cosmic Crypt, Don’t Tell Sarah and Under The Influence live in their taproom located at 501 Lacolle Way in the Taylor Creek Business Park. Tickets $20 in advance through Eventbrite. For more information visit facebook.com/StrayDogBrewingCompany.

 

 

OST presents a fresh take on The Wizard of Oz
By Heather Jamieson
May 31, 2019

Liv LeClair, 7, is making lifelong mem- ories as she plays the role of Daisy, the Wicked Witch of the West's cat in the Ottawa School of Theatre (OST) production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The cast in the Ottawa School of Theatre production of �The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' includes a granddaughter, daughter and mother. PHOTO SUPPLIED

She will always remember the experience, just as her grandmother, Marni Hunt Stephens, 73, recalls being on stage as a four-year-old in Calgary, "wearing a pretty yellow dress� and being so terrified she left the stage rather than sing. (Clearly, with many performances to her credit since, the retired public servant got over her stage fright.)

Liv's mother, Sam LeClair, 39, remembers being cast as a schoolgirl in the musical Anne of Green Gables at the National Arts Centre during the Charlottetown Players' national tour in the 1980s. Then eight, Sam still isn't sure if she was more excited about getting a role or her upcoming "very first sleepover with her best friend.�

Extra special for Liv, a Grade 1 student at Glen Ogilvie Public School, is that her memory will be of sharing the experience with her mother and Nanny. This is the first time three generations of one family have performed together in a production by the popular Orléans theatre school.

Directed by the school's artistic director Kathi Langston, the production has a cast and crew of 106. Langston emphasises that she based the script on the original L. Frank Baum book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and not the 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland.

There are significant differences between the two: among them, the famous ruby red slippers in the movie are silver in the book (and hence in the OST production) and several characters from the book such as the Winkies, Kalidahs, killer bees and wolves do not appear in the movie.

This works well for Langston who faced the challenge of creating a script with sufficient characters for her large cast. She also created additional characters, including Daisy the cat and executive assistants to the various witches. LeClair plays the Wicked Witch of the West and her mother plays her assistant.

Not only is Langston directing Liv LeClair in her first performance, she was also one of Sam LeClair's first drama teachers.

"I've known Kathi pretty much since I could walk on stage,� says LeClair, a Grade 5 French Immersion teacher at Summerside Public School in Avalon.

Hunt Stephens and her daughter have performed in countless plays together, going back nearly 25 years. And while Liv "has always been a theatre baby in the background,� she never wanted to be on the stage until now, explains her mother.

"This year, Liv really wanted to be part of it,� explains LeClair.

Several factors likely influenced her decision, including the book "The Bernstein Bears Get Stage Fright,� which by dealing with stage fright may have given her confidence, says LeClair.

Liv says that while she loves everything about the experience, her favourite part is being with her Mom.

Liv's father, Greg LeClair, with 30 years' experience in the technical side of theatre, has long watched his mother-in-law and wife perform and is excited that his daughter is ready to "try her hand at make-believe.� Theatre is a huge part of the family's life. In fact, he and Sam met when he was the theatre technician and she was an actor in the Vintage Stock Theatre production of "A Drawing Room� in March 2006.

OST presented The Wonderful Wizard of Oz six years ago and three adult actors from that production are reprising their roles in the upcoming show: Lennis Poupore as Kalidah; Ian Stauffer as the Scarecrow; and Randy Bellini as the Cowardly Lion.

"Both Ian and I relish working together on stage, as we play off each other so well,� says Bellini. "He has been my mentor for the past 10 years when I started in theatre, so when Kathi asked us back to reprise our roles, we jumped at the opportunity to work together.

"There is some great young talent in this show, starting with our Dorothy, Lauren-Jane (Hudson).�

He adds he has made subtle, but significant changes to how he portrays the Cowardly Lion.

With many families having several members in the play, Langston does her best to cast them in scenes together to make the rehearsal process as convenient as possible. "To make it more interesting and engaging for people with small roles, I have doubled up; so a Munchkin can also be a wolf, a crow or a Winkie,� Langston explains.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is being presented in the Harold Shenkman Hall of the Shenkman Arts Centre at 7 p.m. on June 7 and at 2 p.m. on June 8 and 9. Tickets are available at www.shenkmanarts.ca or by calling 613-580-2700. Tickets are $12.50 for children and $17.50 for adults, which include a $2.50 facility surcharge.

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