You might say it is the ultimate, often-told family story of good vs. evil, authenticity vs. pretension, and courage vs. fear, and it takes the stage this weekend at the Fox Theater, with lots of great music.
The story is the kind you want to watch and share again and again, and the music is the kind you want to sing along with.
The 65-member cast would love it if you sing along with The Wizard of Oz, during one of the most extravagant productions we’ve seen on the Community Playhouse stage.
The musical plays Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. downtown at the old Fox Theater / Neville Center.
This is a slightly different version of The Wizard of Oz, director Scott Carlson said. The script follows the original 1900 book written by Frank Baum, rather than the movie that was made in 1939.
Dorothy’s dog Toto is absent from the story, and the plot takes a few unusual turns. The Wizard appears as an evil shape-shifter, rather than the large ghostly head surrounded by fire and smoke that was portrayed in the movie.
The story remains a thoroughly uplifting tale.
This show features fabulous hand-painted backdrops, great-looking costumes and at appropriate times, thunderous vocals.
“Come sing along,” Carlson said.
“This is the great story that most people are familiar with, so they can sit back and just enjoy it. I think the audience will enjoy the subtle interpretations too,” he said.
There is plenty of action on stage, with dozens of munchkins and supporting characters, plus cackling witches and the timid heroes who press on in ttheir quest, regardless of challenges.
The cast is convincing and right on with their vocals, sure to lift everyone’s spirits.
Sue McKain is the musical director. She conducts a pit orchestra of some of North Platte’s finest musicians.
The choreography is by Ciera Carlson, Karen Marsh and Sue McKain. The stage manager is Brian Solko and the backstage mom is Kelli Carlson, who supervises the youngest members of the cast.
The play will repeat on the weekend of Feb. 15-17.
The corporate sponsors are Kwik Stop, Nebraskaland National Bank, Bloedorn Lumber, Great Plains Health, First National Bank, and Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne P.C.
Support is also provided by the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment for the Arts, the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation of North Platte, the North Platte Lincoln County Convention Visitor’s Bureau, and the Peter Kiewit Foundation.
Cast: • Aunt Em — Traci Sawyer. • Uncle Henry — Scott Odle. • Farmhand Jo — Matt Odle. • Farmhands — Sam Fornander, Benjamin Pearce, John Browers, Case Axthelm, Daniel Wardyn. • Dorothy — Kennedy Pucket. • Munchkin farmer — Jesse Smith. • Mayor of the Munchkins — Cooper Lange. • Munchkin coroner — Levi Luenenborg. • Munchkin barrister — Dakota Guthrie. • The Good Witch, Sorceress of the North — Teagan Lovelace. • The Wicked Witch of the West — Lou Cox-Fornander. • The Scarecrow — Lane Swedeberg. • The Tin Woodman — Maximus Wohler. • The Cowardly Lion — Kelly Wiseman. • Private — Levi Luenenborg. • Foremost General — Case Axthelm.
• Oz Lady — Melissa Mitchell. • Lord Growlie — John Browers. • Gloria — Cassie Brown. • The Wizard of Oz — Benjamin Pearce. • Visiting Witch No. 1 — Becki Wardyn. • Visiting Witch No. 2 — Melissa Mitchell. • Tibia — Matt Odle. • Servant — Brandon Odle. • Ozmas — Sam Fornander. • Munchkins — Braxton Songster, Layla Thomas, Allison Guthrie, Hailey Guthrie, Bella Harwager, Ruby Schow, Rileigh Reeves, Madi Hilderbrand, Chloe Ochoa, Rieellah Ochoa, Reece Eickhoff, Finnley Eickhoff, Chloe Odle, Brian Odle, Avery Luenenborg, Isaiah Mitchell, Bella Mitchell, Maylie Mitchell, Emmy Cassell, Greyson Kautz, Marisa Pfeifer, Nic Zurn, Connor Robertson, Tyson Pierce, Naomi Dekleva. • Ensemble — Desiree Russell, Skylar Stethem, Kaylee Carlson, Toni Guthrie, Olivia Phillips, Makenna Modlin, Megan Huddle, Dakota Guthrie, Ally Pierce, Ella Harmon, Evelyn Kittle, Brandon Odle, Talea Ochoa.
Crew: • Backstage mom extraordinaire — Kelli Carlson. • Stage crew — Deb Wurl, Seth Vapenik, Muffy Morris. • Lighting design — Justin Morgan, Wayne Pressnall. • Lighting operator — Justin Morgan. • Lighting assistant — Jocelyn Kennicutt. • Spotlight operator — Trevor Pochop. • Sound — Bob Westbrook – Westbrook Audio. • Audio scenic backdrop painting/design — Holly Carlini, Tara Lienemann. • Set painting — Val Hiser, Mary Reimer, Anne Hoatson, Megan Huddle, Kelli Carlson, Toni Guthrie, Hailey Guthrie, Dakota Guthrie, Allison Guthrie. • Set design — Garrett Luenenborg, Bryan Solko, Scott Carlson, Kelli Carlson. • Set construction — Garrett Luenenborg, Bryan Solko, Sam Fornander, Kelli Carlson. • Costumes — Tyler Cronin, Sue McKain, Donna Pucket, Liz Odle, Heather Pucket, Martha Orcutt, Cheri Lorenz, Shawna Reitz, Renae Hiatt, Dakota Guthrie, Case Axthelm, Tara Luchau.