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Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at The Producer's Club
Marie-Nowak, BroadwayWorld.com, July 30, 2018
Tucked away in
the heart of New York City's theater district - known as Broadway
(although only those with 500 seats or more can officially be called
Broadway theaters) -- are many off- and off-off-Broadway gems like
the Producer's Club which make theater accessible and affordable to
thespians and audiences alike.
Producer's Club on July 28, 2018, AlphaNYC Theater Company presented
the beloved children's classic The Wizard of Oz. It tells the
indelible tale of farm girl Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto who travel
to Oz via tornado. The show is directed by Elizabeth Aquino and the
story is adapted by award-winning playwright Kathryn Schultz Miller.
Based on L. Frank Baum's popular book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
(1900), which spawned 13 sequels, MGM's 1939 film The Wizard of Oz
became one of the greatest and most iconic films of all time, an
enduring part of our cultural history. Its sublime star Judy Garland,
forever associated with it, remains equally an icon. With its simple
but profound theme of longing for faraway worlds "over the
rainbow" and finding that those searches for our heart's desire
ultimately lead home, The Wizard of Oz is a universal and timeless story.
Wizard of Oz
backdrop depicts cornfields and a yellow brick road, including
emerald green curtains. Perhaps one interpretation of the tale's
subtext would be about surviving through imagination and dreams. It
reminds us that even in Oz, Dorothy travels through farmlands similar
to her native Kansas, except they are suffused with color. (The book
opens, in fact, with describing the gray and joyless plains that
Dorothy inhabits, noting that Toto was not gray and made Dorothy
laugh, saving her from becoming as gray as her surroundings.) But on
a literal level, the friendly and fanciful characters and spunky
"child" heroine speak for themselves.
The story is
condensed into an economical 30 minutes to engage young audiences.
Schultz Miller makes some imaginative tweaks, while maintaining all
the signature elements of the plot (including famous lines from the
film). It is an all-female cast with each actor bringing something
distinctive and original to her role, aided by the script's engaging,
show narrator Veronica Murphy is perched in a corner of the stage and
holding a book, lending an apt story-time atmosphere. Kansas farm
girl Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto are whisked away to the Land of Oz
by a tornado where they meet a Scarecrow (without a brain), a Lion
(without courage) and a Tinman or, rather, Tinwoman (without a heart).
The trio of
misfits join Dorothy in her journey down the yellow brick road to the
Emerald City where they each hope the Great Wizard of Oz will give
them the qualities they lack. In Dorothy's case, she wants to go
home. But when they finally reach Oz, the Wizard tells them they must
kill the Wicked Witch of the West first before their wishes are granted.
Goodman as Dorothy gets her spirit - a combination of sweetness
("I, the meek") and sass when pushed. When the Wizard
boasts, "I remember everything because I am so great and
wise," Dorothy says, "You've already told us that. It's not
polite to repeat yourself." Karen Goldfarb, with great comedic
presence, plays four different characters, including Auntie Em and
one of the Wicked Witch's monkeys. She uses a broad and lively
delivery that is perfect for children and makes the adults laugh as well.
Jayla P. Corbin
delights as Toto and truly brings to mind an inquisitive, little dog;
it is Toto, not the humans, who unmask the Wizard, after all. The dog
remains a vital character, making frequent, little "ruff
ruffs!" When she meets the Scarecrow, she paws him curiously
until the Scarecrow cries, "Seriously?" She also nabs a bag
of potato chips an audience member allegedly left behind.
playing both Glinda, the Good Witch, and the Wicked Witch of the
West, is utterly sensational. Schulz Miller has reimagined the Wicked
Witch as one-eyed, which makes a wonderful visual like a squinting
pirate, and Middough uses great physical flourish and vocals
deliciously recalling Margaret Hamilton's unforgettable film witch.
("They don't call me wicked for nothing," she pipes at one point.)
cast is rounded out by Ambrealys as the Scarecrow, Catherine E.
Seraceno as the Cowardly Lion, Stacy DeGolier as the Tinwoman and
Niki Rose Woods as both the Gatekeeper and the Wizard. They are all
delightful and play beautifully to the kids in the audience, being
both engaging and relatable.
At the end of
the show, children in the audience are invited to come onstage and
take photos with their favorite characters. One little girl didn't
want to leave the stage.
of Oz offers a little bit of magic on a shoestring and a way to
introduce children to beloved classics. It also enables families to
go to the theater without breaking the bank. Best of all, it's fun
for all ages and frequently made me laugh out loud. (When the
Scarecrow finally gets her brain, she crows, "I before E except
after C" to prove it.)
THE WIZARD OF
OZ played at the Producer's Club on July 28, 2018 at 10am, 11am, 12pm
and 1pm. The Producer's Club is located at 358 West 44th Street in
New York City.
theater presents Jungle Book
By Audrey Caro,
Polk County Itemizer-Observer, July 2, 2018
The themes of community and family that run through The
Jungle Book also are apparent in The Apple Box Childrens
Theater production of the Rudyard Kipling classic.
collaborated with several other entities, including Arts Integrated
Ministry, Childrens Educational Theater and Central High
Schools performing arts department, said Rob Harriman.
really cool. Im really enjoying it.
coaches the cast of The Jungle Book
before rehearsal on June 27
Most of the
masks used in the play are from Central High School, he said, and
Apple Box has lent costumes to CHS for other productions. Western
Oregon University is taking care of the sound.
a reminder that for as small of (an area) as this is, there is a huge
pool of people invested in doing this, Harriman said.
There are four solid kids theater programs (in the area).
directing the play and Barbara Harriman, his wife, is the production
manager. Rob read through the book with their daughter Fiona and she
added some scenes, he said.
Miller adapted the book.
author of the play said do whatever you want with it, Harriman
said. We recalibrated the play to make it fit into our vision
of the authors vision.
he enjoys the theme of community and working together that is implied
throughout The Jungle Book.
follows the journey of Mowgli, a boy who was raised by a family of
wolves since his birth, but must flee his home for safety from Shere
Khan, the tiger.
biggest challenge will be breaking away from the Disney version of
the story, Harriman said.
The Apple Box
Childrens Theater production of The
Jungle Book is truer to the source material, he said.
the poems that are at the beginning of each chapter in Kiplings book.
In its eighth
season, the theater group is experiencing some firsts with The Jungle
Book production its the largest cast, at 51, and it is
the first production that features choreography.
The Dance & Fitness Studio were in last years play and were
asked to be involved this year, Harriman said.
how we got so many kids, he said.
There are four
dance numbers, choreographed by Janey Jefferson and Bethany Allen,
the dance studio.
auditions, we asked if they wanted to dance, Harriman said.
A lot of the kids were really excited about dancing.
The cast of The
Jungle Book rehearses a scene at Western Oregon University.
The casts for
Apple Box Theater productions are 8 to 14 years old. Veteran
participant Haley Taylor, 16, passed the age limit to act in the
plays, so she is taking on the role of assistant manager/stage director.
fun to see from new perspective, Taylor said. Its
really cool. Im really enjoying it.
play 'Cranes' is all about hope
By Nicky Hamila
For the Arizona Daily Star, Sep 19, 2008
Craig has the ultimate teaching tool: Theater.
Craig has been
instrumental in bringing theater for children to the Pima Community
Based on a true
story, it's about a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who lived in
Hiroshima. She was 2 when the atom bomb was dropped on the city, and
12 when she was diagnosed with leukemia from the radiation.
"A Thousand Cranes"
It touches on
culture, war, self-empowerment, empathy.
And that's just
holds that if a sick person folds a thousand cranes, the gods will
make the person healthy again.
folding cranes in hopes she will recover. It's a task she can't
complete she lives long enough to fold 644 cranes. Her
classmates fold the rest and bury them with her.
the icon for hope and peace," Craig said. "I think it's
important for kids to understand that they have a voice and that
their voice is powerful."
The play also
teaches about war and its ravages.
have been children throughout history that have had to go through
war," Craig said. "I think it's important for kids to know
how other children have lived in countries of war. . . . For a piece
like this, it teaches you about culture and history and sympathy and empathy."
And that makes
"A Thousand Cranes" a play of a different sort.
of a play," said Craig, "and more of an epic poem."
Presented by: Pima Community College Theatre Arts.
Kathryn Schultz Miller.
Director: Betsy Kruse Craig.
p.m. Fri and Sat; 2 p.m. Sat and Sun through Oct. 5.
time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.
Wizard of Oz' by Middlebury Elementary School
hundred sixty students took part in their first theatrical
experience; one played the Wizard of Oz."
"A heart is not judged
by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."
- Wizard in 'The Wizard of Oz'
Middlebury, CT - One hundred
sixty students that attend Middlebury Elementary School are clearly
loved a lot by others. With great joy, they presented a lovely
production of 'The Wizard of Oz'
on the stage of Memorial Middle School on Thursday evening with the
help of many parents and staff members of their school. Only one
performance remains on Friday evening at 7pm and admission is one
item for the Middlebury Food Bank.
Director MaryLou Torre, the
interim principal of Middlebury Elementary School, understands the
importance of theatre in our schools. "The project was all about
process. The rehearsals and practices were as much as a part of the
experience as the performance you will see tonight. Fun and freedom
of expression for the students and the directors were key goals along
and Freedom of Expression"
This version of the classic
book by L. Frank Baum is a play adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller. It
included a huge chorus of "vivacious" students in a rainbow
of t-shirts that narrated the story with choral reading from the
bleachers house left. The cast included six different girls in the
role of Dorothy, four different Scarecrows, two Tin Man characters,
two Lions, two Gatekeepers and many, many others. Everyone had their
own wonderful costume; kudos to Amy Raefski on her adorable design
work and to the large costume crew.
Corinna Flanagan and Kathy
Miller served as the Art Director/Set Design team. The panels of the
set were painted by a large group of students (shout out to Nick
Salvucci) that got to wear cool painted t-shirts on opening night.
Michael Kaulins served as AD and Lydia McCarthy did the choreography.
Chris Turecek was the Music Director/Tech Director. Community theatre
actor/dad Ian Diedrich did the prop construction, including the head
of the wizard painted on a white curtain; shout out to Kalman Zold
who played Oz. Michaela Turecek did the pretty impressive make-up for
the actors that needed an unnatural face color. I had a great
reserved seat in the front row, but the sound with microphones on
stands was really very good throughout the gym.
A bunch of young male actors
was the pretty adorable Flying Monkeys with Luke Humphrey as Chimp,
Emma Taglialatella as Scamp and Kyleigh Favale as Rascal. Eva
Guerrera rocked the role of the "they don't call me wicked for
nothing" Witch and melted impressively. Addison Mitchell and
Owen Lattanzio did well with the shared role of the Gatekeepers. Ryan
Dawes and Madison Ferguson were both good Lions and Cole Hughes and
Luke Jackson in full silver were effective Tin Man, I mean Men.
Scarecrows were Matteo DelBuono, Caitlin Flaherty, Peter Skabardonis,
and Kiera Daweese.
don't call me wicked for nothing..."
Glinda in the classic pink
dress and crown was played well by Rachel Anderson, accompanied by
bubbles. Featured Munchkins included Ryan Murray (Joe,) Emily Raefski
(Curly,) and Hunter Diedrich returned to the stage to play Burly.
Leah Wasserstein was Auntie Em and Jack Sedensky was Uncle Henry.
Joey Bernardi barked well in the role of Toto because there was no
stuffed dog in a basket in this play. The poppy scene gave new
meaning to "pulling my leg" in a cute way.
The gaggle of girls in the
blue and white gingham included Emma Kulla, Faith Graziano, Lauren
Anderson, Grace Jackson, Elizabeth Raefski and Aubrey Guiditta. The
most adorable Munchkins specialized in stealing hearts in their
floral hats and technicolor outfits. Best featured ensemble was
billed as "The Forest" and included Brailee Batista, Evan
Deschaine, Lilyana Reed and Shaelyn Walsh as the apple-throwing trees
with lots of attitude.
The curtain closed between the
scenes and if the transitions were a bit long, what the audience saw
when they reopened was worth the wait. The students could never be
heard backstage and that can be hard for the very young. The director
shared during her curtain speech that the young thespians, some as
young as six, had been practicing since January, during which time
their "little school play" grew into a full 55-minute
production. The students all knew their lines and if they hadn't
expected to perform in front of people sitting in the 600 seats, it
did not show.
Thank you to this elementary
school staff for giving most of these young performers their first
theatrical experience in a safe setting. Congratulations on a job
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