Premiere and Encore Youth Theatre teamed up again for the big youth musical at the Moonlight Amphitheatre, and under the clever direction of Randall Hickman turned in one of the funniest productions of Wizard of Oz you’re going to see.

The humor all begins at the beginning, and that’s with Kristina Rasband as Dorothy. Whether it’s her uncertainty about being surrounded by a bunch of excitable munchkins or drying her tear-filled eyes with the Lion’s tail (until she realizes what it is), Kristina has brilliant comic timing and expressions. She can sing and dance, too!

She and her three talented friends play off each other with remarkable chemistry. Myles Vencill is the Scarecrow who is especially brainless and likes to talk to others with his hands as much as his mouth – just in case they too might be a bit brainless and need some help. The Tin Man, who Scarecrow calls “Ralph” due to a little misunderstanding, is played by Jacob Jones, a kind-hearted comedian who is a bit careless with his axe, nearly decapitating a nervous Scarecrow and Dorothy. James McGraw is a comic marvel as a Cowardly Lion given to nosebleeds and great moments of pride when he gets his courage. Toto does a fine job, especially when he pretends to be stuffed when they land in Oz. He also keeps disappearing and reappearing, leading the Lion to finally hand the dog to Dorothy asking, “Will you keep track of this thing?”

Other fine performances come from Kenneth Roecks as an amusing character actor portraying Professor Marvel, Annelise Threlkeld as good with Glinda, a bunch of excitable munchkins who frighten Dorothy and give high-fives to the audience as they make their exit, and Veronica Rotta as the cackling Wicked Witch. She flies, too. At least via a voiceover. A cutout of the Wicked Witch is pulled along on a string as she taunts the citizens of the Emerald City far below her. The Ozians quake with fear as she slides along, then scratch their heads when the cutout stalls before the next pull. Which is just one of the many great touches by Randall Hickman in this terrific production.

Performed June 15-18, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Dorothy: Kristina Rasband or Makenzie Daris
The Scarecrow: Myles Vencill
The Tin Man: Jacob Jones
The Lion: James McGraw
Glinda: Annelise Threlkeld
Wicked Witch: Veronica Rotta or Allie Bingham
The Wizard: Theo Nicholson
Prof. Marvel: Kenneth Roecks
Aunty Em: Katie Gonzales
Uncle Henry: Matthew Vaught
Zeke: Christopher Anderson
Hickory: Sean McGuire
Hunk: Ryan Kwock
The Gatekeeper: Franklin Lentulo
Miss Gulch: Allie Bingham or Veronica Rotta
Mayor of Munchkin City: Delaney Manning
Coroner: Austin Wright

Singing Poppies and Ozians:
Mary Ashcraft
Kelsey Cole
Marissa Jones
Lauren Mercier
Alexandra Rogers

Christopher Anderson
Molly Anderson
Adalbela Bonillo
Austin Bulis
Samantha Cochran
Crystal Cummings
Bree Dalton
Summer Rose Fabela
Ryan Kwock
Amber Lentulo
Cassidy McCarthy
Sean McGuire
Emily Nelson
Katie Nolte
Crystal Caroline Sleeper
Rebecca Sterling
Mikey Sterling
Kristin Strange
Cheyenne Todd
Brian Weiss
Zach Wikler

Tornado Dancers/Flying Monkeys:
Cassie Dibbins
Alison Mosley
Kelsey Prince

Witch's Guards:
Austin Bulls
Franklin Lentulo
Sean McGuire
Kenneth Roecks
Patrick Sullivan
Matthew Vaught

Lullaby League Munchkins:
Jalie Fransway
Shannon Johnston
Claire Vencill
Sarah Wikler
Tara Young

Lollipop Guild Munchkins:
Austin Byrd
Cole Douglass
James Egan
Troy Strange

Eva Amantea
Emma Birdseye
Kira Brown
Stacey Brown
Carly Bulis
Sarah Callahan
Jerry Cullins
Tori Edgar
Katharine Egan
Kariayn English
Bridget Estelle
Gabrielle Eyl
Danielle Ferguson
Grey Fraser
Jeweliet Fuller
Annika Johnson
Alexander Keyon
Ian Laughbaum
Jennifer Leads
Elise Leary
Brittani Luce
Emily Miethke
John Miethke
Olivia Miethke
Rachel Menkes
Sarah Molinar
Hannah Moors
Dana Muldowney
Jessica Nettles
Jacob Novacek
Katie Novacek
Andrew Patterson
Leilani Perez
Christopher Razniak
Katrine Razniak
Katie Rodgers-Heniser
Brandon Rojas
Toni Stabile
Dina Steinlauf
Jacqueline Thomas
Elizabeth Urbina
Ross Urbina
Marlena Weiss
Regina Weiss
Brad Whitener

Director: Randall Hickman
Choreographers: Douglas Davis, Randall Hickman, Allisan Whitman
Music Director: Neil Anderson
Set Design & Construction: Douglas Davis
Costumes: Sandy Shay & Lori Ritenour
Lighting Design: Randall Hickman


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