Friday, August 10, 2012

TOP STORY >> The Wizard of Oz

Leader staff writer

“That’s not very nice,” a little girl in the audience blurted out at the Cabot Community Theatre’s “The Wizard of Oz” when the wizard tells Dorothy and her friends to go away and come back with the wicked witch’s broom.

The crowded room at Thursday night’s performance burst into chuckles while the set was changed for the next scene.

This show isn’t one to be missed and it doesn’t have to be.

The nonprofit theater at CenterStage Playhouse, 204 N. First St., is accepting reservations for performances that will be held tonight, Thursday, Friday and next Saturday.

The play starts at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Prices are $25 for an adult dinner and show, but $15 for an adult show only. It’s $15 for a child’s dinner and show and $10 for a child’s show only.

Tickets can be purchased at

Victoria Eckert is starring as Dorothy Gale, her “dream role.”

And her sparkling eyes and lovely voice fit the protagonist to a T.

“Ever since I was 2, I’ve been in love with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and been singing July Garland,” Eckert said before the show.

Charles Jenkins was the character that little girl was upset with.

He is the Wizard of Oz and the magician Dorothy meets as she is running away from home.

Before the show, Jenkins said “It’s the ultimate feel-good play. Who doesn’t hear ‘Over the Rainbow’ and not feel a little better? I like how the wizard helps them find what they already had inside themselves.”

Another of the many actors and actresses who really make this play worth seeing is Amber Wallis as the the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy’s ruthless neighbor who is after the girl’s best friend, her dog Toto.

“I like when I first come out. I get to scare people. It’s quite fun,” Wallis said backstage.

Exaggerated foreshadowing is characterized in the first few scenes of the play and much of it was in jokes that had the audience laughing and clapping during the dialogue and after it ended.

After that, Eckert sings “Over the Rainbow” with Toto by her side.

Even the dog seems to have eyes shining with hope.

Although the play closely follows the beloved 1939 movie version, there are at least a few lines thrown in to make the theater’s take on it unique.

One of those occurs when Dorothy exclaims, “She’s after you even up here,” to Toto upon seeing her pesky neighbor in the tornado that carries Dorothy’s house to Oz.

Of course, some of the loudest applause followed the scene when 17 children graced the stage as Munchkins.

They all sang in beautiful harmony and a special shout out should go to both the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild.

Two young ladies pulled off delicate ballerina moves accompanied by soothing voices.

After that, three brothers — Samuel, Daniel and Michael McCarty — performed the hysterical and jerky dance of the guild that was memorable from the classic movie.

The actors’ family resemblance really adds something special to the roles.

Other deviations from the movie included extra characters, like the crows in the Scarecrow’s field, which had their own musical number.

An extra scene, one that was cut from the film, was added to the play.

And then there is a remarkable special effect in which the axe carried by the Tin Man leaves his hand, as if enchanted.

The cast, modifications to the script and the gorgeous set will make the Cabot Community Theatre’s “ The Wizard of Oz” an unforgettable experience.