The ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ at Sanibel School
We were off to see the wizard the wonderful “Wizard of Oz”. We know he is a wiz of a wiz if ever a wiz there wuz; the wizard was one because, because, because — because of the wonderful cast there wuz in the “Wizard of Oz!” We knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore, if for no other reason than the pre-show with Sanibel School’s “rockin” debut of an awesome new Rock Guitar Band. WOW!
Let me tell you, this group of six musicians led by their teacher and mentor Joseph Angelo really wowed their audience with their playing. The following are members of this hot new band:
o Chet Chance – drums and guitar
o Grant Reel – drums
o Daniel Young – bass and guitar
o Olen Peck – guitar
o Noah Wiegal – guitar
o Nick Smith – bass and guitar
It might interesting to know that this band, which only started 5 years ago, just got their drums this season, along with the all-important sound amplifier. All I can say is “right on, and rock on guys!”
Now on with the show – This musical version of the “Wizard of Oz” is based on the 1939 film of the same name. This is L. Frank Baum’s tale of witches, friendship and a little girl who just wants to go home. The Royal Shakespeare Company reworked this version in 1987, using practically verbatim the screenplay from the film, all the familiar songs are still intact with one addition “Jitterbug,” a darling jazzy musical number that was cut from the original film.
The Cast on performance night June 2 were as follows:
o Dorothy Gale- Oriana Vargas
o Toto- Maxi Garmager
o Aunt Em- Crystal Falde
o Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard- Daniel Young
o Scarecrow/Hunk (farmhand) – Tricia Garmager
o Tin man/Hickory (farmhand)-Kelsey Congress
o Lion /Zeke(farmhand) – Casey Wexler
o Ms. Gulch- Madeline Tomlinson
o Professor Marvel/ The Wizard of Oz- Andy Perez
o The Wicked Witch of the West-Olivia Lohnes
o Glinda the Good Witch of the North- Christianna Messinger
o Munchkin Mayor- Cayla Davis
o Munchkin Barrister- Sarah Heidrick
o Munchkin Coroner – Grace Ann Paul
o Munchkin tots 1 – Jill Richter 2- Nichole Benzrihem 3- Anna Hayes
o Munchkin Tough guys 1- Emily Minouri 2- Madelyn Labar 3-Rachel Wexler
o Munchkins Christianna Messinger, Dara Craig, Crystal Falde, Anna Hayes, Deanna Taub, Oriana Vargas, Dana Congress
o Directed by Joseph Angelo
o Assistant Director-Arlene Dillon
o Choreographers Tricia Garmager, Kelsey Congress, Dana Congress, Christiana Messinger
o Sound tech. – Chet Chance
o Spot Light- Audry Paul
o Set Design & Painting Dara Craig, Gina Radicchi, Deanna Taub, Casey Wexler, Rachel Wexler, Deanna Craig, Casey Durand
If I left out any of the hard working, amazing participants I apologize; also kudos all around to the hard working parents and teachers that made this show such an expert piece of entertaining, musical theater.
Lonely and sad Dorothy dreams of a beautiful land where the nasty, spinster neighbor cannot harm her or her beloved dog Toto. Dorothy is so unhappy she runs away, only to return after having second thoughts. Suddenly on her return trip home a violent tornado not only hits the farm, but she receives a hard bump on her head which transports her to the dream land “over the rainbow,” a magical land where all her friends as well as her Kansas farm are magically altered.
Her journey takes her down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where she meets the Wizard of Oz and her amazing adventures begin; her reward for slaying the Wicked Witch of the West is that she and her friends are granted their heart’s desires and Dorothy is once again brought safely back home to Kansas.
Let’s start with the production values of this marvelous show, which were excellent. Starting with the tornado, where the use of strobe lighting and a swirling farm house perfectly conveyed this fierce tornado, the transformation to Munchkin Land was neatly accomplished by colorful umbrellas, the dancing “sour apple trees” imaginative, the crows singing along with Scarecrow hilarious, Emerald City a shimmering success, the witch’s castle both scary and spooky, especially the witch’s “crystal ball”, also we were magically back in Kansas every time the farm set appeared. The scenery was simple, effective well thought out, well painted and imaginative. The special effects worked with great results, making for real live, theater magic.
The costumes were spot on crisp, colorful; the two standouts were the tin man’s real metal attire, and the menacing green makeup and garb of the Wicked Witch of the West.
But the real highlight of this adorable retelling of the “Wizard of Oz” is the excellent cast. Starting with Oriana Vargas as Dorothy, she drives the show from start to finish with enough energy and dazzle to outshine her shiny ruby slippers.
Rene Miville has a voice that is as terrific as his delivery, both are utterly engaging and his rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain” with the crows, brought down the house.
Another highlight was Kelsey Congress as Tin-man her “If I Only Had a Heart” was super.
Casey Wexler was incredibly funny, she seemed to channel Bert Lahr’s 1939 version of the movie’s cowardly Lion complete with Lahr’s New Yawk accent. Her rendition of “If I Only Had the Nerve” (pronounced noive), rightfully stopped the show.
Other notables that should be mentioned are:
o Crystal Falde as Aunt Em
o Christianna Messinger – Glinda the Good Witch
o Andy Perez – The Wizard of Oz
A big round of applause for the fearsome green faced, super scary Wicked Witch of the West, Olivia Lohnes.
Oops, how could I leave out the adorable Maxi Garmager as Toto? Maxi rates a “four paws up” score for playing his role to its doggone unlimited best. Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof, Maxi!
This was one extraordinary production and a really fine tribute, to this timeless classic. Everyone connected with this show rates high praise for giving it their all, in such a truly first class, professional, entertaining performance. Keep up the great work and count on me to be at your next performance.