by L. Frank Baum
Music and Score of the MGM film by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Background Music by Herbert Stothart
directed by Emily Van Fleet
We’re off to see the Wizard! Experience this time-honored story as Dorothy travels from the plains of Kansas to the magical world of Oz. Adapted from the classic 1939 film by MGM, The Wizard of Oz takes our young heroine on a fantastical journey of adventure and adversity. Complete with a scarecrow, a tin man, a not-so-fearless lion, a wicked witch, and a little dog, too. So grab your friends and your ruby slippers and get ready to be blown away.
Venue: Main Stage
Genre: Musical. Family. Fantasy.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Director – Emily Van Fleet
Music Director – Ian LeRoy
Choreographer – Bethany Eilean Talley
Scenic Design – Robert Mark Morgan
Costume Design (humans & puppets) – Asa Benally
Lighting Design – Matthew Schlief
Sound Design – Dustin Lacy
Puppet Design & Fabrication – WYNOT Productions
Stage Manager – Devon Muko*
Asst. Stage Manager – Nia Sciarretta*
Asst. Stage Manager – Lisa Tinker
Asst. Stage Manager – Michael George
Dance Captain – Scott Kuiper*
Dorothy Gale – Yael Chanukov
Aunt Em/Glinda – Caitlin Wise*
Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard – Zayaz Da Camara
Hunk/Scarecrow – Regina Fernandez
Hickory/Tinman – Claudio Venancio
Zeke/Cowardly Lion – Antony Terrell
Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch – Anne Faith Butler*
Prof. Marvel/Wizard – Christy Brandt*
Ensemble – Rachel Maria, Ines Scott Kuiper*, Heidi Carann Snider, Kietraille Sutton
Director’s Note: Emily Van Fleet
I don’t need to tell you that The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic. The story of Dorothy and her unruly canine has been retold and reimagined for over 100 years, from the original novel by L. Frank Baum published in 1900, to the 1939 MGM film, and spin-off stories like the 1978 film The Wiz, and the recent novel-turned-hit-Broadway-musical, Wicked. But what makes it timeless and why keep telling this story?
To answer, let’s explore why we tell fairy tales at all and what keeps them relevant over time. Fairy tales serve two major functions: escape and moral instruction. They take us away from our humdrum existence, transporting us to another place and time, showing us what the world could be. Since the mid-1950s, when this story became mainstream, American society has arguably been experiencing an identity crisis, one that continues to intensify. People were trading rural life for urban industry, separating individuals from communities. More recent technological advances have only intensified this sense of isolation, pulling us further away from true connection and common understanding.
This story is loved so fiercely because people of all ages can identify with its characters. As a youngster, I identified with Dorothy, never being understood or acknowledged properly by adults (heck, sometimes I still feel that way). Perhaps in 15 years, I’ll identify more with the curmudgeonly Ms. Gulch, who can’t get any peace because that pesky dog keeps rummaging through her garden (oh who am I kidding, that’s me now too!). Personally, I have felt empathy for every one of these brainless, bumbling, heartless, scaredy-cats. Because they are all me. They are all us. And we can always learn from them.
This story’s relevance comes from our yearning for “home,” whether it’s a literal house, family and friends who care for us, a country we’re proud to belong to, or inner purpose and enlightenment. As a member of today’s audience —right here, right now, sipping wine or popping candy—we have the opportunity to experience it for the first time because we share a common perspective based on what we know has happened today in Creede: the weather is nice, the kids are having a blast at day camps, the rodeo is in full swing, and we need to pick up hot dog buns for the 4th of July. Likewise, we have a shared perspective based on what we know is happening in the world: the fight for equality, polarization in politics, economic anxiety, safety at home and abroad. It gets heavy. But thankfully, Dorothy and friends have it figured out! The moral they show us is simple yet difficult to enact, but it is as important now as it’s ever been. We are better as individuals when we stick together, and true empowerment is achieved by building others up, not tearing them down. Family, love, a sense of belonging: they’re what’s really important. We can find the connection we seek. It’s all around us – and not just over the rainbow.
The Wizard Of Oz is presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.