Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Upper Room Theatre The Wizard of Oz

By • Jul 18th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
The Wizard of Oz
Upper Room Theatre: (Info) (Web)
All Saints Church-VA, Manassas, VA
Through July 21st
2:30 with intermission
$15/$12 Seniors/$8 Youth (plus fees)
Reviewed July 16th, 2013

The Upper Room Theatre Ministry has put together another stellar production with their Muny version of The Wizard of Oz. This version is based on Frank L. Braum’s novel and the music and songs of the 1939 movie adaptation. This version has more choral numbers, ballet, no Prof. Marvel, Toto or Miss Gultch, and may leave you wondering as to whether they really get back over the rainbow at the end of the show.

The cast and crew gave an amazing performance. Tons of energy and total dedication to the emotions of the story of a girl who wanted to find out what happens over the rainbow. However she soon realizes that Kansas is not so bad after all and longs to return home.

Dorothy Gale was played by Sarah Zapiain. Sarah was eager, and played Dorothy with much sincerity and emotion. She had a big smile and a strong voice, with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” the highlight of the first act.

Joseph Duran as the Scarecrow did some absolutely amazing gymnastic moves as he was rescued from his post. He seemed to be one big pretzel that could leap, stretch, roll, and tumble any which way, all while keeping time to the music and smiling. Alex Taylor as the Tinman, was a bit more reserved, but still defended Dorothy from the Jitterbugs, ghosts, and anything else that stood in her way. Last, but not least and perhaps the funniest of all Dorothy’s comrades is the Lion played by James Majewski. Lion had probably the best expressions and the most comedic anxiety of the group. Always ready to turn tail (pun intended) he later proved himself to be a champion of the forest and the Land of Oz.

Both the Good Witch (Maria Davis) and the Wicked Witch (Leslie Zapiain) had strong characters. Maria Davis performed two ballet numbers that were complex and well choreographed. Leslie Zapiain had the most evil laugh and her green makeup made her appear all the more sinister.

The crew was great and the set changes were smooth. The bridge scene was a delight, as it rotated under Dorothy and the Scarecrow as they crossed it on their way to the Emerald City. The bridge’s revolve was a stunning effect. The computer animated “Great and Powerful Oz” was also very well executed, timed to move with the actors as they cowered beneath him.

Many of the dance scenes in the second act, though well performed, seemed to go on a bit long, a problem with this version of the script. The Dance of the Ghosts was a feature, with Allan Rush as the skeleton Tibia. There were a few minor opening night mic problems, but those will surely be corrected. The orchestra was admirable, and never overpowered the singers’ voices. The set was fabulous, with beautiful backdrops and very functional set pieces. The witch’s appearances were perfectly executed in huge clouds of smoke that quickly were removed from the playing area. Jessica Kresge’s costumes were wonderful. Pay close attention to the cauldron late in the show!

A wonderful production that was well cast, sung, and danced. It is not the Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow,” but is a great family-friendly production nonetheless.

Director’s Note

The Scarecrow seeks brains, the Tin Man seeks a heart, the Lion seeks courage while Dorothy seeks a way back to Kansas. Jesus tells us those who seek will find and if we knock, the door will be opened. He gives each of us the gifts we need, if only we take the time to discover them and use them. The Wizard helps the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion discover that the gifts they journeyed after were with them all along. In the end, it is the Wizard’s sacrifice of his rule in the Emerald City that allows Dorothy to be led back home. The Wizard of Oz has been a delightful production to be a part of as we open the All Saints’ P.A.C. My prayer is that in some small way, we can always be reminded that God gives us the gifts we need to faithfully follow the road and eventually be led back home. Blessings to you and your family!

Photo Gallery

Dorothy in Kansas Munchkin Land
Dorothy in Kansas
Munchkin Land
Off to See the Wizard Good Witch Ballet
Off to See the Wizard
Good Witch Ballet
In Witch's Lair Wizard
In Witch’s Lair

Photos provided by Upper Room Theatre


  • Dorothy: Sarah Zapiain
  • Scarecrow: Joseph Duran
  • Tinman: Alex Taylor
  • Lion: James Majewski
  • Good Witch: Maria Davis
  • Wicked Witch: Leslie Zapiain
  • Aunt Em/Gloria: Emily Dwornik
  • Lord Growlie/Uncle Henry: Samuel Bookwalter
  • Peeping Munchkin/Visitor Witch 1: Nicole Kardaras
  • Munchkin 2/Visitor Witch 2: Katie Miller
  • Munchkin Farmer/General: Connor Kleb
  • Munchkin Mayor/General: Patrick Koehr
  • Braggart Munchkin/Oz Lady: Diana Allocco
  • Sneezing Munchkin/Oz Girl: Gabrielle Buonocore
  • Farmhand/Father Munchkin 1/ForeGeneral: Patrick Hilleary
  • Farmhand/Father Munchkin 2/General: Brian Teller
  • Farmhands/Mother Munchkin/Ozian: Kelli Hutchison
  • Farmhand/Coroner Munchkin/General: Ben Jacobeen
  • Munchkin 1/Oz Girl: Magali Palmer-Young
  • Farmhand/Jitterbug/General /Ghost: Christian Kleb
  • Farmhand/Jitterbug/Private/Ghost: Joe Zapiain
  • Jitterbug/General/Tibia: Allan Rush
  • Farmwife/Jitterbug/General/Ghost: Alayna Nagurny
  • Farmwife/Jitterbug/General/Ghost: Kayleen Nagurny
  • Farmwife/Jitterbug/General/Ghost: Kelly Rush
  • Farmwife/Jitterbug/General/Ghost: Teresa Elmore
  • Farmwife/Jitterbug/General/Ghost: Rachel Rollins
  • Farmhand/Tot Munchkin 1/Oz Girl: Jeanne Myers
  • Farmhand/Tot Munchkin 2/Oz Girl: Kathryn Knoerl
  • Farmhand/Tot Munchkin 3/Oz Girl: Maria Zambrana
  • Farmhand/Tough Munchkin 1/General/Ozmas: Brian Majewski
  • Farmhand/Tough Munchkin 2/General: Jack Geiran
  • Farmhand/Tough Munchkin 3/General: Jim Harbour
  • Munchkin/Ozianl: Martin Kelly
  • Munchkin/Ozian: Jude Vandevoorde
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Marisa Michak
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Hannah Foster
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Marie Tessier
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Kirstin Kleb
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Esther Tennyson
  • Farmhands/Munchkins/Ozian: Haylea Wisniewski
  • Miniature Witch: Anne Tessier
  • Wizard: Fr. Jeb Donelan
  • Wizard’s Voice: Matt Moore
  • Miniature Witch: Anne Tessier

Artistic Team

  • Director/Producer: Rob Tessier
  • Choreographer: Vickie Taylor
  • Music Director: Cathy Drummond
  • Vocal Director: Chris Zavadowski
  • Production Stage Manager: Brian Sledz
  • Deck Stage Manager: Elizabeth Perretta
  • Assistant Director: Melissa Land
  • Assistant Choreographer: Teresa Elmore
  • Accompanist: Brian Nagurney

Technical & Design Team

  • Technical Director/Set & Crew Director John Sledz
  • Asst Technical Director: Andrew Heller
  • Asst Tech Director: Dale Walsh
  • Master Carpenter: Mark Heller
  • Costume Designer: Jessica Kresge
  • Costume Director/Munchkin Designer Kelsey Kleb
  • Assistant Costume Builders: Mary Myers, Eileen Callahan, Eileen Hilleary, Joan Lopacki, Maggie Palmer, Connie Zaipian
  • Properties Master: Jay Wells
  • Assistant Props Master: Jenny Branly
  • Scenic Art Director: Bernadette Wunderly
  • Asst Scenic Art: Monica Loesel
  • Lighting Designer: Dan Martin
  • Sound Designer: Harry Post
  • Make-Up/Hair Designer: Kyna Hollis
  • General Manager: Cathy Sledz
  • House Managers: Jane Carroll, Veronica Rollins
  • Concessions Director: Myra Hayde
  • Publicity Directors: Janis DeVore, Chris Zavadowski
  • Poster Design/Oz Video Production Matt Moore
  • Program Designer: Joan Lopacki


  • Clarinet: Allen Howe
  • Keyboard: Brian Nagurny
  • Trombone: Chris Carroll
  • French Horn: Chris Short
  • Trumpet: Dave Russell
  • Bassoon: Donna Peck
  • Cello: Fernando Argont
  • Violin: Gina Quintiliani
  • Bass: Justin Christian
  • French Horn: Kyle James
  • Violin: Mel Waddy
  • Saxophone: Mike Morch
  • Violin: Gwendolyn Pfouts
  • Drums: Phil Quinan
  • Trumpet: Shaun Hydock
  • Clarinet: Steven Darling
  • Violin: Susan Bardenhagen
  • Percussion: Wil Humpfries

Disclaimer: Upper Room Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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One Response »

  1. What a beautiful review and I loved how you kept secret the “Cauldron” which gives the audience a great thrill. I ushered opening night and then Thursday evening. I agreed that the dance scenes may have been a bit long but the skill of those dancing we may be able in the future to say we saw them when! I am the mother of three who all performed in Guy’s n Dolls. Rob is a fantastic director in musical theatre. And, we all should just thank that the grace of God prevails, always.