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Potomac Theatre Company The Wizard of Oz

By • Nov 20th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Potomac Theatre Company’s The Wizard of Oz [MP3 6:42 3.1MB].

The Wizard of Oz
Potomac Theatre Company
Blair Family Center for The Arts, Potomac, Maryland
Fri & Sat: $18, Seniors & Kids $16;
Sun: $15, Seniors & Kids $13
Performances Weekends Through Dec 2

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio.net review of The Wizard of Oz performed by the Potomac Theatre Company in Potomac, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on opening night, Friday November 16, 2007.

Mike: At times you could really see the magic that could be a part of this show, but unfortunately it just wasn’t quite ready for a real audience yet.

Laura: They needed about two more nights of tech rehearsal for the cast to get comfortable on stage, and the conductor to get comfortable with the music. It has the potential to be a good show, but I don’t think they were quite ready.

Mike: The Wizard of Oz is a musical. This is an adaptation by John Cain, for the Royal Shakespeare Company based on the 1939 film. Dorothy is a little girl in Kansas who is scared that the mean witch in town is going to take her dog Toto so she flees. Unfortunately a tornado happens, picking her and her house and transporting her to the magical land of Oz. She then needs to figure out how to get back to Kansas. In Oz she meets thee friends: The Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Together they all have their dreams and they work together to try to realize those dreams.

Laura: Dorothy Gale, the girl who found herself in the merry old land of Oz, was played by Jennifer Malsch. Although I think she was nervous, she had some good scenes. One of the more complicated scenes was the jitterbug scene in the second act. She really did well with that. Again they needed about two more days to work out some of the dance moves because you could see a lot of staring at the conductor to try and get everything down.

Mike: I did like the jitterbug song that she sang. I think she had gotten over some of her nervousness and warmed up a bit, but there were lots of other points in the show where she was nervous. It was also a little bit distracting that the magic of Oz involves a real Toto. They used a stuffed dog. That was a little disappointing. I will admit that I was really hoping for a real dog to come out early on in the show. We had already seen the stuffed Toto and Miss Gulch took Toto away and Dorothy had sunk to the floor in grief over her poor dog. I was really expecting a real dog to come trotting out from the sides. That didn’t happen, which was kind of disappointing. I realize a trained dog is kind of tough. He has to be trained and not be scared by the lights and all the people and the applause and the music. It is an accomplishment to have the real dog.

Laura: There were three farm hands who worked on the Gale’s farm. Hunk played by Ken Kemp, later became the Scarecrow. I liked his singing voice very much. He seemed to be the most comfortable on stage maybe because he has performed in other shows. I liked his floppy attire and he looked like a scarecrow.

Mike: Another farmhand was Hickory, who later became the Tin Man. He was played by Colin Ganley. He did a fine job as the Tin Man and Hickory. He was concerned about Dorothy’s health. He stood up to the Wicked Witch. You could really feel the love he had for his friends and Dorothy throughout the show. One thing to be aware of, this show did stick a lot closer to the original Wizard of Oz book. The story that that the Tin Man tells when he is discovered in the woods is a bit graphic. If you’re not expecting it it may surprise you. It sticks closer to the book than to the movie.

Laura: The third farmhand, Zeke, also the Cowardly Lion, was played by David Elvove. He was roly-poly and even though he did a lot of roaring and yelling you could tell he was a cowardly lion, but very good natured. I liked his song in the second act ‘King of The Forest.’ I thought he had a good time with that song because he had gotten over some of his nervousness and was a little bit more comfortable on stage.

Mike: The music director was Ian Stuart. The Munchkins and the other characters that the youth played were looking to him for guidance and to know when to do entrances and when to start scenes. There were several noticeable pauses when they would look at him and wait for a cue. That’s another aspect of something that needed to get rehearsed a bit more. I think they’re going to be great for the next two weeks of the show. Opening weekend I’m sure they worked through all these issues of having to perform in front of a live audience.

Laura: Some of the little minor things that I’m sure have been worked out included the basket handle. There were times when Dorothy had it in front of her face so you couldn’t see her.

Mike: Another problem was you couldn’t hear the Munchkins. The orchestra was loud, but I think the problem was that the Munchkins were not wired with microphones. They were youth and they just couldn’t project over the music. That was a sad thing. There were several times when the Winkies or the Munchkins or other characters who were played by the younger performers simply could not be heard at all. I will say during the intermission and after the show when we were mingling with people in the lobby, lots of people were saying they really enjoyed it and they were having a good time. I think that’s great, but the show could have been a lot better than it was. Hopefully after a weekend of performances they have been able to work through lot of these rough areas.

Laura: The Wizard of Oz is playing through December 2nd. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sunday matinees at 2 PM at the Blair Family Center for the Arts in Potomac Maryland.

Mike: The show runs about two hours and fifty minutes with one intermission. It did start a little bit late opening night so it may be a touch shorter than that. And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Dorothy: Jennifer Malsch
  • Aunt Em/Glinda: Celia Blitzer
  • Uncle Henry/Guard: martin Flum
  • Hunk/Scarecrow: Ken Kemp
  • Hickory/Tin Man: Colin Ganley
  • Zeke/Cowardly Lion: David Elvove
  • Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of The West: Karen Winokur
  • Professor Marvel/Wizard: David Gross
  • Tornado Dancer/Crow/Ozian/Jitterbug: Leigh Jansson
  • Tornado Dancer/Tree/Ozian/Winkie/Jitterbug: Melanie Williams
  • Tornado Dancer/Lollipop Guild/Ozian/Jitterbug: Katie Mayo
  • Tornado Dancer/Lollipop Guild/Ozian/Winkie/Flying Monkey: Jack Copeland
  • Munchkin Mayor/Ozian/Winkie/Ghost/Flying Monkey: Diane Joanisse
  • Munchkin Coroner/Ozian/Flying Monkey: Mikayla Ribeiro
  • Lullaby League/Ozian/Winkie/Jitterbug: Katherine Brownrigg
  • Lullaby League/Ozian/Flying Monkey: Grace Mulkins
  • Lullaby League/Ozian/Jitterbug: Abby Wallisch
  • Lollipop Guild/Crow/Ozian/Flying monkey: Sylvie Langsdorf-Willoughby
  • Munchkin/Ozian/Nikko, Commander of The Flying Monkeys: Brandon Sheridan
  • Munchkin/Ozian/Winkie: Kevin Cohen-Gross
  • Winkie/Tree/Ozian/Ghost: Jon Willoughby
  • Tree/Ozian/Winkie/Ghost: Liberty Okulski

Crew

  • Director/Choreographer: Heather Scheeler
  • Music Director: Ian Stuart
  • Producer: Barry Hoffman
  • Stage Manager: Tammi Gardner
  • Scenic Design: Joseph Wallen
  • Lighting Design: Joy Wyne
  • Sound Design & Operator: Steve Deming
  • Sound Consultant: David Steigerwald
  • Costume Designer: Eleanor B. Dicks
  • Costume Coordinator: Diane Joanisse
  • Props & Set Dressing: Sonya Okin, Tammi Gardner
  • ASM/Follow Spot Operator: Tamara Hunter
  • ASM/Running Crew: Malanie Mack Williams
  • Light Operator: Harvey Levine
  • Rehearsal Pianist: Nan Muntzing
  • Set Construction Supervisor: Mac Grant
  • Set Construction: Mac Grant, Alan Beck, Elie & Ted Cain, Ray Durante, John Shockey, Jamie & Brad kleinknecht, Josheph Wallen, Mike Showalter, Tony Pisarra
  • Oz Photographer: Harvey Levine
  • House Manager: Elie Cain
  • Playbill: Marilyn Shockey

Orchestra

  • Conductor/Percussion: Ian Stuart
  • Woodwinds: Bobe Greene, Brian Falkowski
  • Trumpet: Ethan Marks
  • Horn: Matt Eisenberg
  • Trombone: Robert Heim
  • Synthesizer/Associate Conductor: Justin Indovina
  • Rehearsal/Orchestra Pianist: Nan Muntzing
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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2110.

started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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