PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Join members of 2009 Educational Theatre Collaborative (ETC) production of The Wizard of Oz as they travel to the Emerald City, Feb. 6 and 7 in Concord.
ETC, a venture of the College of Graduate Studies at PSU, Friends of the Arts and Plymouth Elementary School, is a winner the Hippo Press “Best of Everything” Award and a two-time winner of the Moss Hart Award for excellence in children’s and community theatre.
“The live show promises delights and thrills for the whole family, (and at least one dog),” said The Concord Monitor.
With a cast of 125 members ages 8 to 65, any production would be a challenge. Pulling it all together with only 18 days of rehearsal is about as miraculous and fantastic as the story itself, but that’s what ETC is doing for its 15th-anniversary production.
“I would never even attempt it if it weren’t for the expertise and hard work of the ETC team and the wonderful community members who make up the cast,” said ETC Creative Director and Co-Founder Trish Lindberg.
“The challenges are to create a schedule that accomplishes all we need to in the short amount of time we have, and to work through all the many technical elements of the production. I want the audience to take away a wonderful and emotionally charged experience so that they will rekindle memories and make new ones,” Lindberg said.
Lindberg won the 2007 Excellence in Education Award from the New Hampshire Department of Education and the 2007 Excellence in Children’s Theatre Award, presented by the New Hampshire Theatre Awards.
The intergenerational troupe includes community members, elementary, high school and university students; and PSU faculty and staff from more than 30 towns.
The 2009 cast welcomes back PSU alumni and professional actors Robin Marcotte and Chris Gonzalez, who were in the original ETC production of The Wizard of Oz as the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion 11 years ago. PSU Dean of Students Tim Keefe, of Plymouth, has appeared in all 15 ETC productions.
Additional familiar characters are Dorothy, portrayed by Ariana Casasanto of Manchester; the Tin Man/Hickory, portrayed by Kyle Trumble of Manchester; the Wicked Witch/Miss Almira Gultch, portrayed by Lisa Lovett ’87 of Holderness; Glinda, portrayed by Allison DuHamel of Nashua; Professor/Wizard of Oz, portrayed by Joseph Casey of Plymouth; Uncle Henry, portrayed by Victor Gennaro of Plymouth and Aunt Em, portrayed by Kathleen Hill of Center Harbor.
Throughout the ETC production, the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda and the Flying Monkeys will all be flown by the prestigious Foy Company, which flew Mary Martin in Broadway’s Peter Pan.
According to the Library of Congress, “Since its publication in 1900, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz(on which the play is based) has become America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale. The first totally American fantasy for children, it is one of the most-read children’s books.”
The movie version was shown on television annually from 1959-1991, making the film one of the most famous ever produced. The movie garnered an Academy Award nomination for best picture and won best original song for “Over the Rainbow” sung by Judy Garland.
Familiar songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “The Lollypop Guild,” “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead” will take older patrons on a trip down memory lane, while youngsters explore the Yellow Brick Road for the first time.
Patrons can soak up that “certain air of savoir faire, in the merry old land of Oz” at performances in Concord Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts.
In Concord, tickets are $19.50-$29.50 and may be purchased at the CCANH Box Office, (603) 225-1111 or online at tickets.ccanh.com.
Photo I.D. Dorothy, Glinda and Toto. John Anderson photo