The Wizard of Oz
by San Diego Junior Theatre

Photo by Ken JacquesOne of the best reasons for a theatre group to do The Wizard of Oz is they don’t need a pesky synopsis taking up valuable print space in the program; that and the adorable little Dorothys running about in their ruby red slippers!  The down side is everyone comes to the theatre with a preconceived notion of how this show is to be performed.   Director/choreographer Walter Allen takes the audience down the familiar Yellow Brick Road, but with a few hilarious detours and road-side attractions to keep the passengers enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

Dorothy (LaVon Wageman) has beautiful vocals as she takes us Over the Rainbow, even as Toto (Tavish or Kiltie) tries to steal her big moment as cast members treated like props tend to do.  When we land on the other side, Maddie Baldwin as Glinda makes a regal appearance, coaxing the Munchkins with an exceptional voice to Come Out, Come Out.  A colorful cast of wee folk greet us with winning smiles and tongue-in cheek humor, including the 3 busts from the Hall of Fame we have been hearing about all these years and a touch of American Gothic.  Alice Cash, as the evil-doer from the West, does a good job being bad, hastening the exit of one tiny set of ruby red slippers from the audience. 

As Dorothy embarks on her quest, she meets up with a dim-witted delight of a Scarecrow, played wonderfully by Ryan Luster.  It is at this point of the production that the ensemble really starts to shine, including funny bits by a murder of marauding crows and a tangle of teasing trees.  Kyle Crews has a nice patina as the knight-in-shining tin, determined to see Dorothy gets to the Wizard (played convincingly by  Vincent Pasquill) and to get a heart.  Michael Barahura adds some self-deprecating humor and the fearsome foursome are off to the Emerald City.  But first they must pass by the peril of poisonous poppies that dance and sing, then magically turn into a flurry of snowflakes as Glinda saves the day.

The Emerald City, guarded comically by Jordan Bunshaft, gives the Ozians the chance to dance and sing as they spruce up their guests, even giving Dorothy and Toto new green garbs.  The special effect of the sky writing Surrender Dorothy was a fabulous touch.  The sets, designed by Cynthia Bloodgood, were creatively done making the scenes flow, especially the witch’s lair, which made for a fine exit for the hot-headed hydrophobe.  The Winkies were particularly fun as they marched perfectly in-sync and then busted some moves to put them in the running for America’s Best Dance Crew. 

Performed April 24 – May 10, 2009

Photos by Ken Jacques

Martha Pettit
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Photo by Ken Jacques Founding Father/Youth Ensemble: Brittney Aceron 
Teen Ensemble: Stephanie Aceron 
Youth Ensemble: Azriel Almera 
Glinda/Aunt Em: Maddie Baldwin 
Lollipop Guild/Youth Ensemble: Mark Barahura 
Lion/Zeke: Michael Barahura 
Youth Ensemble: Gina Barba 
Youth Ensemble: Hunter Bennett-Fusina 
Founding Father/Youth Ensemble: Kailey Berry 
Youth Ensemble: Fiona Beyerle 
Guard/Uncle Henry: Jordan Bunshaft 
Wicked Witch/Miss Gultch: Alice Cash 
Teen Ensemble: Brooke Collins 
Youth Ensemble: Valeria Counts 
Tin Man/Hickory: Kyle Crews 
Lollipop Guild/Youth Ensemble: Connor Cruz 
Teen Ensemble: Jenna Dern 
Teen Ensemble: Alex Dunbar 
Teen Ensemble: Jacob Fineman 
Teen Ensemble: Larissa Garcia 
Teen Ensemble: Dylan Hoffinger 
Lullaby League/Youth Ensemble: Colette Huber 
Lullaby League/Youth Ensemble: Emily Ince 
Teen Ensemble: Gabrielle Jarrett 
Teen Ensemble: Rachael Lopez 
Scarecrow/Hunk: Ryan Luster 
Teen Ensemble: Erica Malachowski 
Youth Ensemble: Madisen Mangione 
Teen Ensemble: Kimberly Marron
Youth Ensemble: Hannah Mason
Teen Ensemble: Trevor Menders
Teen Ensemble: Devante Mendiola
Wizard/Professor: Vincent Pasquill
Founding Father/Youth Ensemble: Caroline Peck
Teen Ensemble: Olivia Peck
Teen Ensemble: Matthew Pospisil
Lullaby League/Youth Ensemble: Lou Rasse
Youth Ensemble: Maddy Ringer
Braggart/Youth Ensemble: Ruby Ross
Lollipop Guild/Youth Ensemble: Brady Schiller
Munchkin Mayor/Youth Ensemble: Avery Solsbak
Munchkin Coroner/Youth Ensemble: Kayla Solsbak
Teen Ensemble: Mark Steitz
Teen Ensemble: Anna Strickland
Teen Ensemble: Ben Sutton
Youth Ensemble: Jordan Vickers
Dorothy: LaVon Wageman
Teen Ensemble: Rachel Wayne
Teen Ensemble: Bryshan White
Teen Ensemble: Spencer Williams
Teen Ensemble: Abbey Workman

Director and choreographer: Walter Allen
Musical Director: Richard Morrison
Set Design: Cynthia Bloodgood
Lighting Design: Mia Bane
Sound Design: John DeVinney
Orchestra Conductor:
Richard Morrison


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