The Wizard of Oz: There’s No Place Like Ft. WashingtonBy Michael Clark • May 23rd, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of The Wizard of Oz performed by the Tantallon Communty Players. [MP3 6:41 1.9MB]
Laura: And this weekend we saw The Wizard of Oz performed by the Tantallon Communty Players in Fort Washington, Maryland.
Mike: The Wizard of Oz is, of course the show you’ve probably seen on tv or at the movies. It’s the musical story of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz. It has the three friends she meets: the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion. And their battle against the Wicked Witch of the West. I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon and it was really good. It was very impressive. The acting and the singing were top notch. The cast was over 50 people. There were 12 adult primary actors and over 40 children involved. They also had a dog playing Toto. It was a pretty big production. They also had a full orchestra which was playing backstage behind the set.
Laura: The Scarecrow was played by Ron Sweeney. He did a really good job. He had a dance number where he got to dance and jump around the stage. Being a scarecrow he was very flexible and did a really good job moving around. Ken Kemp, who played the Tinman, also did a really good job. He had a smaller dance number. Being made of tin, he couldn’t move around the stage as easily, but he did a good job. They did a good job with his makeup so that he looked all silvery colored. The Lion was played by Ric Herrera. He was a good lion. He was very cowardly, and came on with a lot of bluster.
Mike: Dorothy was played by Sasha Micelli. She did a good job. The signature song of this show is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. She did an ok job with that. That’s a pretty big set of shoes to fill in for Judy Garland. That is a disadvantage of doing a popular show like this. Everyone is going to compare every actor to what they are used to seeing in the movie version.
Laura: One of the characters who is not in the Judy Garland movie is Yellow Brick Rhoda. She was played by Shannon Perkey. She did a really good job. She was as her last name said, very perky. She always came on with a big smile on her face and had a good dance number, and led them on their way. She started them down the yellow brick road.
Mike: There were about 40 children in the show. They had a lot of the extra parts. They were the Munchkins, The Winkies, and The Trees, The Monkeys that come and attack the traveling troupe in the forest. They were a wide range of ages. Probably 3 years old up through high school. They did a pretty good job. Herding cats would be one way to think of working with 40 kids at once. There are some challenges with working with children. Working with 40 children is a whole extra challenge. It came together really well on the Sunday performance that I saw. The gymnastics that some of the kids did and the singing was pretty good. They enjoyed themselves and I hope they have a lot of nice memories from this show.
Laura: The lighting was pretty good in The Wizard of oz. There were times when the actors were too dark. They needed more of a spotlight on people to help the audience see them better because most of the time they were kind of in the dark. This does work for the scene with the Cowardly Lion in the spooky forest or the Winkies at the Witch’s Castle. That was ok to be kind of dark. The rest of the time you needed to be able to see everybody, and that didn’t always happen.
Mike: And of course one of the things that evrybody knows in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz is the special effects. It goes from black and white to color. You have the twister tht carries the house with Dorothy up and then down. You’ve got the witch crushed under the house. You’ve go the melting witch and fire. You’ve got flying monkeys. Pretty much all of the special effects worked really well.
Laura: When we found out that The Wizard of Oz was playing we were really looking forward to it. It’s one of those great American musicals that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. We went on the Saturday night performance and it was not good at all. There were a lot of technical problems and missed cues.
Mike: We were pretty concerned with how bad the show was on Saturday. It felt like a dress rehearsal, it just wasn’t gelling or clicking. The actors were missing lots of lines. We knew something was up. We contacted the producer and the director. On Sunday morning the director gave us a call back. I talked with Charla Rowe and she acknowledged that the Saturday night performance had lots of problems. Friday night’s show had been flawless. She was very pleased with how it went. She invited us to come and see the show again. We had another show to see on Sunday. So Laura went to go see that show and I went back to see The Wizard of Oz again. It was a totally different performance, it was so well done. The actors were great. There were a couple minor dropped lines. It was hard to believe it was the same group of people. They did a really good job on Sunday.
Mike: Suffice it to say that a show that has live animals involved and or children involved, you really need to think through the logistics of the children. For this show there was one adult backstage for every four children helping with costume changes and getting them ready for their cues to go on stage. That was 40 kids and 10 adults backstage. Ten extra people you have to worry about. Some of the children were pretty young, probably 3 or 4 years old, all the way up through high school. Depending on th age of the kid, you might need more adults. Maybe one adult for every three kids or per two kids. That’s something to keep in mind. Same thing with animals. When working with live animals you want to make sure that the trainer or the animal handler really knows what to expect. For example, if you’re working with a dog, make sure the dog’s diet is steady. Don’t give him different food the day of a show.
Laura: So I highly recommend that you go see The Wizard of Oz. It is a very kid friendly family fun show. It is playing at the Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington. Maryland.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
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