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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Montgomery Playhouse The Wizard of Oz

By • Apr 15th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Montgomery Playhouse’s production of The Wizard of Oz [MP3 6:19 2.9MB].

The Wizard of Oz
Montgomery Playhouse
Asbury Methodist Village Rosborough Center, Gaithersburg, MD
$16/$14 Seniors and Students
Through April 27th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of The Wizard of Oz, performed by the Montgomery Playhouse in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on Saturday afternoon, April 12, 2008.

Mike: The Wizard of Oz is a delightful show. Montgomery Playhouse did a good job with it. It was a slightly abridged version, but all the basics you know from the movie are there. I think you’ll have a good time if you take your kids and go see this show.

Laura: It was a cute show and everyone seemed to have a good time. Lots of nice singing and dancing in this show. The acting was a little bit uneven, but everyone seemed to have a good time. I know the kids really enjoyed it.

Mike: The Wizard of Oz is a musical based on the book by L. Frank Baum. Music and lyrics by Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg. This version was adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Wizard of Oz focuses on a girl living in Kansas in the 1930’s. Dorothy doesn’t believe anybody likes her or understands her so she runs away from home. Unfortunately a tornado comes and blows her to the land of Oz. Once there she discovers she has no way to get back home to Kansas. Follow her on her adventure as she follows the yellow brick road and the adventures beyond.

The main character of Dorothy was played nicely by Lauren-Nicole Gabel. I liked her portrayal as the innocent girl from Kansas, although at times she kind of lost that innocent look. I did like her reactions to the witch when she would appear. I liked her singing. She had a very nice voice, it was very sweet. The classic song “Over The Rainbow” had two reprisals in the show and they both came out very nicely.

Laura: The role of Auntie Em and Glinda the Good Witch of the North were played by Jaclyn Young. She did a nice job, with a nice voice. She played the role by maybe hamming it up a little bit. She was very believable. I like the song she sang when Dorothy and Toto found themselves in Munchkin Land, the “Munchkin Land Musical Sequence.” I thought she did well with that. She has a very good presence on stage.

Mike: I liked Dorothy’s helpers. The Scarecrow was played by Greg Meyer, the Tinman was played by Paul Noga, and the Lion was played by Jim Camlek. As an aside, sitting in front of us were Jim’s nephews. After one of the Lion’s scenes one of the nephews said loudly, “Uncle Jim is funny.” So there is an unbiased review:) The three of them semed to work well together. There was a good strong relationship between them. Earlier in the show when they were playing the farm hands, Hickory, Hunk and Zeke, they also had that friendship down that they were very comfortable with each other and I did like that.

There were a couple times when I felt that their scenes were a little rushed. Noticeably the Lion when he was scared to go in front of the Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City. I did like the numbers where each of them had a solo explaining to Dorothy explaining what they would wish for. The choreography was fairly basic for all the numbers, but they did a good job.

Laura: We have seen Toto portrayed in other productions of the Wizard of Oz as a real dog, a stuffed dog, and this was a little girl, Olivia Anderson, dressed up in a dog costume. She was very cute. One of the scenes I liked her the best in was when she was with the crows and Dorothy met the Scarecrow. The ad-libbing that went on there I thought was very cute. She was barking at the crows and they would squawk back at her.

Mike: The Wicked Witch of the West and Miss Gultch were both played by Stacey Fearheiley. I think she did a very good job and was pretty scary. I liked when she would swoop in with her cape flowing behind her. She was very comfortable on stage with a good strong presence. She had a nice cackle. She was a little bit limited as to how she could move around when she was attacking the different characters near the end of the show, but she did it very convincingly.

Laura: The Wizard of Oz used a fairly simple set. The design was done by the show’s director, Lisa Holland Anderson. They used basic frames that they would pull out on stage and some boxes that were used to represent different items. Curtains were placed on the frames in different colors to show where they were in Oz. They also had an overhead projection that was done by Mary Alexander and Tara Bradford. It was farly nice. It was static with still pictures instead of moving scenes. But it was nicely done.

Mike: Earlier I mentioned that this seemed to be an abridged version of the Wizard of Oz. All the scenes you remember were there. They also included the Jitterbug scene which is not in the MGM movie version. But the show lasted less than two hours with an intermission. I could not tell you what they cut out. It seemed like a lot of the scenes were rushed. A few times I caught lines that were simply shortened. For example I remember the Scarecrow being afraid of a lit match. In this version he said he was scared of fire. This doesn’t sound like a big deal. It’s only one word difference, maybe a couple seconds at the most. But it is a subtlety that children are not going to notice and it will make it easier to understand. The kids that were there in the show we saw had a really good time. It’s not a bad show, it was just shorter than I was expecting. I was ready for a three hour show, it was two hours. That is neither good nor bad, just a shorter way of doing a show.

Laura: The Wizard of Oz is playing through Sunday April 27th. Fridays at 8 pm and Saturdays and Sunday at 2 pm. Please be aware there are no evening shows on Saturday or Sunday, at the Asbury Methodist Village Rosborough Center in Gaithersburg Maryland. I think you’ll have a good time at this show. Bring the kids.

Mike: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list. Stay informed with community theatre in the DC region.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Dorothy: Lauren-Nicole Gabel
  • Toto: Olivia Anderson
  • Aunt Em: Jaclyn Young
  • Hickory: Paul Noga
  • Hunk: Greg Meyer
  • Zeke: Jim Camlek
  • Miss Gultch: Stacey Fearheiley
  • Professor Marvel: Andy Aviles
  • Glinda the Good Witch: Jaclyn Young
  • Munchkins: Alistair Faghani, Ariana Faghani, Carly Choppin, Ellie Trainor, Hannah Anderson, Katie Chopin, Kelly Mahoney, Maeve Trainor, Tony Dumas
  • Wicked Witch: Stacey Fearheiley
  • Scarecrow: Greg Meyer
  • Crows: Lowell Williams, Hunter Shelley
  • Trees: Jordan Slattery, Aurelie Kamga Nenkam, Colleen Williams
  • Tinman: Paul Noga
  • Lion: Jim Camlek
  • Poppies/Snowflakes: Ariana Faghani, Carly Choppin, Ellie Trainor, Hannah Anderson, Katie Chopin, Kelly Mahoney, Maeve Trainor
  • ‘Ziegfield’ Snowflakes: Jordan Slattery, Aurelie Kamga Nenkam, Colleen Williams
  • Emerald City Guard: Andy Aviles
  • Emerald City Manicurist: Aurelie Kamga Nenkam
  • Emerald City Hairstylist: Jordan Slattery
  • Emerald City Massage Therapist: Colleen Williams
  • Emerald City Folks: Lowell Williams, Hunter Shelley, Alistair Faghani, Ariana Faghani, Carly Choppin, Ellie Trainor, Hannah Anderson, Katie Chopin, Kelly Mahoney, Maeve Trainor, Tony Dumas
  • The Wizard of Oz: Andy Aviles
  • Winkie Wicked Witch Guards: Lowell Williams, Hunter Shelley
  • Nikko, The Captain Monkey: Kelly Mahoney
  • Flying Monkeys: Tony Dumas, Alistair Faghani, Hannah Anderson, Katie Chopin
  • The Jitterbugs: Ellie Trainor, Ariana Faghani, Carly Choppin, Maeve Trainor

Crew

  • Producer: Mary Scmidt
  • Director: Lisa Holland Anderson
  • Musical Director: Lisa Holland Anderson
  • Assistant Director: Jane MacFarlane
  • Choreographer: Lauren-Nicole Gabel
  • Stage Manager: Mary Alexander
  • Set Design: Lisa Holland Anderson
  • Master Carpenter: Doug Anderson
  • Set Construction: Doug Anderson, Paul Shoop, Joy Wyne
  • Lighting Design: John Hutson
  • Sound Design: Patrick Hughes
  • Lighting Technician: Mark Spano, John Hutson
  • Sound Technician: Patrick Hughes
  • Multimedia: Mary Alexander, Tara Bradford
  • Pianist: Brandon Gage
  • Floor Manager: George Fitel
  • Stage Crew: Debbie Shelley
  • Spotlight Operators: Theresa Olson, Travis Lerol
  • Electricians: Tara Bradford, Patrick Hughes, Mark Spano, Joy Wyne
  • Properties: Jim Camlek
  • Curtains: Jane MacFarlane
  • Makeup/Hair Design: Aimee Dorsey
  • Costume Design: Mary Schmidt
  • Costume Assistants: Roxanne Fournier-Stone, Ellyne Kinney, Nancy Williams
  • Photography: Kay Coupe
  • Program Art: Brian Terry
  • Load-In Crew: Mary Alexander, Jim Camlek, Nancy Davis, John Dickson, Lisa Holland Andderson, John Hutson, David Jones, Dan Mahoney, Mary Schmidt, Paul Shoop, Joy Wyne
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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2239.

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.

2 Responses »

  1. Mike,
    I notice in your review you mentioned this play version of “The Wizard of Oz” was a little shortened of different than the MGM musical version. Well of course it will be differnt. Almost all movies /stage plays are based of some sort of written work. Movies can take much more liberty with presenting that work, than a stage play for obvious reasons. And once a film is finished, it’s finished and leaves a permanante record and will be unchanging. However, stage plays will be different each and every time they are preformed. Each production will be different depending on the directorial view, the actors involved and the audience who sees it. Actors on stage are human, not celluliod. It is not fair to compare a classic movie that has been seen by millions over 70 years to a community theater production of a different work, although both based on the work of Mr. Baum. Give them an honest review of the work they did, and not be critical of your percieved differences to another work.

  2. Dave,

    Of course a movie and a stage version of that movie are going to be different. But director Lisa Holland Anderson’s note in the playbill mentioned they were counting on the audience being familiar with the movie so that the audience could use their imagination to fill in some of the scenes. And the script that was used was based off of the MGM movie version. So mentioning a few similarities and differences with the movie is appropriate.

    Overall we enjoyed this show, and felt that children would enjoy it. I would assume that parents taking kids to the theater would take them to something they are familiar with, not a brand new show.