The Wizard of Oz
by Young Star Musical Theatre

Just four years after L. Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the cornerstone for the Elks Theater was laid in Prescott, Arizona. And finally, in 2006, Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, and her flying monkeys actually flew through the air of the historic theatre in Young Star Musical Theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz.

The double-cast show features Bria Maskovich and Audrey Roberts as Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who ends up going over the rainbow into the magical, but sometimes dangerous, land of Oz. Both have good humor and personality, using lots of “Oh!” and “Oh my!” expressions at the many surprises they encounter on their trip. Things that one doesn’t typically encounter in turn-of-the-century Kansas (including the smell of the fog machine, which Bria doesn’t like at all).

They also have good chemistry with their good friends (and enemies) who are met along the way. Charlotte Shipley, Addie Robertson, and Camden Brisco are the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion who join Bria Maskovich, and they generate some great comedy along the yellow brick road highlighted by a few little additions as the characters partially bond via some good-natured teasing of each other. Like Scarecrow noting he doesn’t get hungry – no stomach. “And no brain,” Dorothy reminds him. Scarecrow needles Lion when the latter reflects, “I think poppies is my favorite flower,” with Scarecrow shaking his head and saying, “You really are a sissy.” Shortly thereafter, Tin Man helps the Lion get back at him, waking the Scarecrow by hitting him with his axe.

The other group of friends are a little nicer to each other. Brittany Reed has a great and natural, unassuming comedy about her as Scarecrow. Sami Austin is the gentle Tin Man who falls asleep by sinking his head into his body like a turtle. Breanne DeMenna is a ballet-dancing Lion with great expressions who suffers from terrible nightmares about rabbits.

But not all of the citizens of Oz are friends of Dorothy. The show is highlighted by a couple of terrific Wicked Witches. Jessica Place torments Audrey Roberts with classic evil glee and great vocal work. Carly Jonovich is a hilariously sadistic witch, kicking little munchkins out of her way, pulling Dorothy’s hair, and ordering her into the dungeon by shouting at her to “go faster!” causing a terrified Dorothy to scream back, “I’m going!” Carly and Bria also share an amusing adlib when Dorothy arrives at the witch’s castle with no Toto. “Where is the dog?” the witch asks with little patience. “I’m afraid he ran off…” Dorothy begins, looking around nervously before seeing Toto on the stage and exclaiming, “Oh, there it is!”

Shmaine Shepherd directs this creatively amusing production that includes good Glindas (Chelsea Soto and Nicole St. Germaine who gets a little irritated at having to tell Dorothy to just follow the yellow brick road for the unteenth time), a darling garden of poppies, and a charismatic bunch of munchkins, and a Toto that does quite well while roaming freely about the old theatre.

Performed through October 28, 2006.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

~ Thu./Sat. ~
Dorothy: Audrey Roberts
Auntie Em: Perri Snear
Uncle Henry: Tristan Soto
Scarecrow/Hunk: Brittany Reed
Tin Man/Hickory: Sami Austin
Lion/Zeke: Breanne DeMenna
Almira Gultch/Wicked Witch of the West: Jessica Place
Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz: Ben Auer
Glinda: Chelsea Soto
Mayor: Carly Rotolo
Barrister: Shana West
Coroner: Kayla Carson
Guard: Krista Evers

~ Fri./Sun. ~
Dorothy: Bria Maskovich
Auntie Em: Rachelle Bluth
Uncle Henry: Noah Hogue
Scarecrow/Hunk: Charlotte Shipley
Tin Man/Hickory: Addie Robertson
Lion/Zeke: Camden Brisco
Almira Gultch/Wicked Witch of the West: Carly Jonovich
Professor Marvel/Wizard of Oz: Alex Bluth
Glinda: Nicole St. Germaine
Mayor: Lexy Shepherd
Barrister: Cierra Castaneda
Coroner: Emily St. Germain
Guard: Jenna Brisco

Director & Choreographer: Shmaine Shepherd
Music Director: Debbie Place
Stage Manager/Flying Director: Kim Auer
Set Design & Construction: Steve Posey, Kim Auer, and Tom Shipley
Costume Designer: Barbara Cookson


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