By Lyndsie Ferrell
CREEDE—The Creede Repertory Theatre is in full swing for their 53rd season and one of their plays takes the audience right out of the theatre hall, over the rainbow and into the magical world of Oz.
The stage opens on a simple prop meant to take the crowd to Kansas where the first few scenes take place. This timeless classic first produced by MGM in 1939 unravels scene by scene in perfect procession from beginning to end and brings to life the all time favorite film on the live stage.
Each of the 12 actors that make up the cast play several roles throughout the production, bouncing from character to the next without hesitation, making for a fun and unique way to watch the play unfold. Cast members utilize the entire theatre, walking the aisles and acting out the journey of Dorothy Gale through the wonderful land of Oz. Throughout the production, the main characters are also followed by an ensemble of dancers that add a fun and rich flavor to the play.
“This story is loved so fiercely because people of all ages can identify with its characters. As a youngster, I identified with Dorothy, never being understood or acknowledged properly by adults. Perhaps in 15 years, I’ll identify more with the curmudgeonly Ms. Gulch, who can’t get any peace because of that pesky dog who keeps rummaging through her garden,” writes Director Emily Van Fleet in her director’s notes included in the play’s description.
The production also includes a real-life dog, supplied by one of the cast members to play Toto. The animal is so well behaved, half the time the audience can’t tell the difference when Dorothy switches from the real dog to a puppet once they reach Oz. When the tornado drops Dorothy and her little dog in Munchkin Land, several characters grab puppets to play the munchkins, creating a magical scene full of familiar songs and creative dance.
The use of props in the play is minimal, leaving the cast to fill in the blanks with help of a projector and astounding dance moves leaving the audience laughing and applauding throughout the play. As with all of the productions coming out of the Creede Repertory Theatre, the Wizard of Oz is a testament to how hard cast members work to create amazing plays for all to enjoy.
Other plays that are taking place in Creede this summer include “Barefoot in the Park,” “9 to 5,” “Miss Holmes” and “Guadalupe in the Guest Room.” The theatre also hosts several Boomtown productions throughout the season and the annual Kid Show that is produced by and for young theatre enthusiasts.
Next up, the theatre will be hosting their Seventh Annual Headwaters New Play festival at the end of August. This is a week-long workshop to create and read new plays. The festival will take place Aug. 24 and 25 in Creede. For a full schedule of plays, more information about the theatre and to purchase tickets, please visit www.creederep.org.