“It’s a much older story than people know,” director G. Tim Groth said to me during the intermission of “The Wizard of Oz.”
How right he is! For those who attend the production this weekend, make sure to check in your programs for Groth’s note on the fascinating history of “The Wizard of Oz,” which starts with recognition of the novel’s author, L. Frank Baum.
While the Galion Community Theatre kept to the original production, they certainly spiced it up with their graphics, live orchestra and smart choreography.
Zach James, also known in the musical as Hunk and Scarecrow, is responsible for the program art along with the creative animations and effects used throughout the play. Using pictures of the cast members, he made both the twister and the Wizard come alive.
All of the cast and crew seemed to put their all into making the production noteworthy. This was also shown through Beth Anne Jarvis (Dorothy), who choreographed her cast members. This could not have been an easy task when keeping all the little munchkins in step. Fortunately, as pointed out by Jarvis, the kids were very easy to choreograph as they picked up very fast.
Not only were the kids very good at their task, they went far and beyond even when the attention was elsewhere. A perfect example of this was the Crows, played by Abbie Brocwell, Cameron Eckert and Erin Ekin, who could be seen preening their feathers during Dorothy’s introduction to the Scarecrow!
When I asked Jarvis what she thought about working on the production she said, “It’s a great experience. Chilling with the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man has been awesome!” Offset friendships definitely affect the production as the acting comes off much smoother, which was evident throughout the show.
Even families working together can be a great experience, as shown through music director Rick Walker and little Taffy Walker (Toto). Taffy seemed to be trained to know what scenes he needed to sit down at and when he needed to simply run off stage. Now, this could be from treats, but I like to think he knew by the music being played.
Who wouldn’t be moved by the music? All live, the orchestra did very well with the pieces. In fact, when the dress rehearsal was over, they continued to stay and practice. Conducted by Walker, the orchestra included Amy Jarvis on piano, Adam Jarvis and LaMar Wyse on keyboard, Rowan Kempf on clarinet, Amy Mayer on flute, Brian Treisch on trombone, and Jerusha Walker on trumpet.
Overall, the show was very impressive and I hope everyone gets a chance to make it out to the Galion Community Theatre to watch! The show premieres Friday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 9, there will be two productions at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A matinee will be shown on Sunday, Aug. 10, at 2 p.m.