Review

The Wizard of Oz
by Christian Youth Theater

As the fences of Aunt Emís farm fly off the stage, itís clear weíre not in El Cajon anymore. Christian Youth Theater and Director Susan Jordan DeLeon put on a lavish production at the East County Performing Arts Center with impressive sets (Jim Phalan) and costumes (Kristin Preddy) on which a talented cast takes us on a memorable trip Over the Rainbow.

Jordan DeLeon takes on her first lead as Dorothy, demonstrating a fine voice, winning smile, and excellent dancing in the well-done Jitterbug scene. Sheís surrounded by three fantastic friends. The limber and acrobatic comedian Nico Ramirez wows as the steadfast Scarecrow. Christian Parks embellishes his role as the Tin Man with a genuinely gentle, tender-hearted voice to go along with some terrific tapping. Cory Springett makes for a comically classic cowardly Lion.

The depth of the cast is impressive, which includes great vocal work by Anne Slagill as the Wicked Witch with a voice reminiscent of the film version and Stephanie Barton who exudes warmth and goodness as the charming Glinda. Not to be upstaged, Lily Springett barks on cue as Toto making her stage debut. The group also injects some unexpected humor such as Ashley Carter as the munchkin Coroner gruffly announcing its coronerís report as if he really doesnít like his job, and Kenny Ramos is a hoot as the charismatic Gate Guard introducing the four heroes to the Emerald City. Jeffrey Mull as the Wizard gives those heroes their gifts with unusual flair, Camille Kindschi is motherly as Aunt Em, and Chris Ninness uses body language and delivery to somehow give the small role of Uncle Henry comedy and depth.

The ensemble is highlighted by dancing Jitterbugs, acrobatic apes (instead of flying monkeys), and adorable Munchkins and Poppies, including one improvisational Poppy who found clever ways to deal with her falling skirt of leaves.

Performed June 15-18, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Dorothy: Jordan DeLeon
Glinda: Stephanie Barton
Wicked Witch/Mrs. Gulch: Anne Slagill
Scarecrow/Hunk: Nico Ramirez
Tin Man/Hickory: Christian Parks
Lion/Zeke: Corey Springett
Auntie Em: Camille Kindschi
Uncle Henry: Chris Ninness
Door Keeper: Kenny Ramos
Mayor: Jesse Kendrick
Wizard/Professor: Jeffrey Mull
Barrister: Melinda Ham
Coroner: Ashley Carter

Lullabye League:
Cara Filley
Morgan Johansen
Hayley Sampson

Lollipop Guild:
Stewart Caprio
Benjamin Lancia
Stephen Moore

Ozettes:
Amanda Gamble
Ashley Cole
Katie Riemann
Holly Hood
Catie Gamble
Kelli Plaisted
Meagan Flint
Chelsea Wyrick
Courtney Luke
Sara Swanson

Rainbow Singers:
Ashley Cole
Meagan Flint
Amanda Gamble
Holly Hood
Courtney Luke
Katie Riemann

Trees:
Noelle Caliguri
Renee Keven
Shannon Stovall

Winkies:
Marshall Hattersley (Head Winkie)
Jeff Crofton
Matthew Freund
Patrick Gates
Kyle Hohn
Kevin McDonald
Jeffrey Mull

Monkeys:
Emma Flint (Nikko)
Michaela Chavez
Julia Clingan
Jamie Fortin
Anika Kenion
Rachel Preddy

Poppies:
Holly Barnhart
Kellie Bartlett
Cari Callen
Spenser Caprio
Ashley Carter
Hannah Elliott
Cara Filley
Tori Floyd
Natalie Fulton
Melinda Ham
Emily Jardel
Morgan Johansen
Alexiss McPherson
Hayley Sampson
Katie Walsh
Sarah Whitaker

Jitterbugs:
Bobby Albright
Ashley Cole
Jeff Crofton
Meagan Flint
Amanda Gamble
Marshall Hattersley
Holly Hood
Courtney Luke
Kevin McDonald
Chris Ninness
Kelli Plaisted
Katie Riemann
Kenny Ramos
Sara Swanson
John True
Chelsea Wyrick

Munchkins:
Holly Barnhart
Kellie Bartlett
Cari Callen
Spenser Caprio
Michaela Chavez
Julia Clingan
Hannah Elliott
Emma Flint
Tori Floyd
Jamie Fortin
Matthew Freund
Natalie Fulton
Emily Jardel
Anika Kenion
Brandon Lisama-Nguyen
Alexiss McPherson
Rachel Preddy
Katie Walsh
Sarah Whitaker

Ozians:
Bobby Albright
Jenna Bailey
Noelle Caliguri
Spenser Caprio
Russell Clements
Ashley Cole
Jeff Crofton
Brittany Elliott
Meagan Flint
Shanna Florence
Matthew Freund
Christine Fries
Amanda Gamble
Catie Gamble
Patrick Gates
Marshall Hattersley
Kyle Hohn
Holly Hood
Renee Keven
Camile Kindschi
Brandon Lisama-Nguyen
Courtney Luke
Kevin McDonald
Bethany Mullert
Chris Ninness
Kelli Plaisted
Katie Riemann
Bethany Swanson
Sara Swanson
Shannon Stovall
John True
Sara Wright
Chelsea Wyrick

Director: Susan DeLeon
Musical Director: Kim Messina
Choreographers: Susan DeLeon and Kim Messina
Costume Design: Kristin Preddy
Stage Manager: Emily Oswald
Lighting Design: Andrew Pomeroy
Sound Design: Larry Esau

   

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