OZ 2.5
by Catherine Trieschmann
inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
directed by Shelley Butler
May 22, 2015 - June 7, 2015

OZ 2.5

Oz was never like this!  That’s because it’s OZ 2.5: brighter, bolder, customized for every player, surprises around every corner—yes it’s a children’s classic set in a video game world!  Dee’s screen name is Dorothy14, and with the help of Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, she gets through each level on her way to defeating the Witch of the Western Realm.  But what happens when she wins the game and wants to go back to Kansas?  Log on and find out.

Previews: May 22 – 29, 2015
Regular Performances: May 30 – June 7, 2015

Recommendation: Grades K-6. Theatre for Young Audiences … and Their Families is just that, a multi-generational experience for all ages, except children under the age of four and babes-in-arms. The only requirement is that each audience member occupies a seat and sits quietly through the performance while having a wonderful time.

This production contains strobe light effects.

L. Frank Baum (author) was born in 1856 in upstate New York, the seventh child of a very successful barrel-maker and later oil producer. However, Baum's own career path was a rocky one. Beginning as an actor, Baum tried working as a traveling salesman, as editor of a small town newspaper and as publisher of a trade journal on retailing, but he failed to distinguish himself in any occupation. His careers either failed to provide a sufficient living for his beloved wife, Maud, and their children or were so exhausting as to be debilitating. In the 1890s, Baum took the advice of his mother-in-law—suffragist leader Matilda Gage—and turned his attention to trying to sell the stories he'd been telling to his sons and their friends. After a few children's books published with varying success, he published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 and it quickly became a bestseller and has remained so ever since.

Catherine Trieschmann (playwright) is the author of The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Crooked, How the World Began, Hot Georgia Sunday and The Most Deserving. Her work has been produced off-Broadway at the Women’s Project, the Bush Theatre (London), Out of Joint at the Arcola Theatre (London), South Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the New Theatre (Sydney), Florida Stage, the Summer Play Festival, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, American Theatre Company and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among others. She has received commissions from South Coast Repertory, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Denver Theatre Center. She is the recipient of the Weissberger Award, the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award from the Inge Theatre Festival, and the Edgerton New Play Award. She also wrote the screenplay for the film Angel's Crest, which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and was released by Magnolia Pictures. Originally from Athens, Ga., she now lives in a small town in western Kansas.

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.

Larry Bates
Larry Bates (Lion). Hey guys! ROAR! I am super excited to be the Lion in OZ 2.5. I love being in Theatre for Young Audiences shows. The last one I did was Charlotte’s Web, where I played Wilbur. SO MUCH FUN! I was also in the The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) and played Mrs. Gorf in Sideways Stories from Wayside School (one of my favorites). My absolute favorite character to play was Toby (better known as Power Boy) in The Only Child. Again, SO MUCH FUN! I also have done some TV, like playing a cop on “NYPD Blue,” “The Unit” and “Huff”; a real BAD GUY on “Dark Blue”; a Coast Guard member who saves the day on “Numb3rs” and a mortician who gets to be around dead people all day (ugggh) in “Boston Public.” And one time, I was placed under a spell by “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” I haven’t been quite right since. Enjoy the show!

Celeste Den
Celeste Den (Aunt Em/Wicked Witch). My favorite place in the world is the theatre because there is nothing more fun than making people laugh and cry through stories. It is a great joy to be able to play pretend for a job, especially when it takes me to places I’d never been like London, San Francisco, Oregon and Hong Kong. Though no matter how far I go, I am always grateful to return home to the SCR stage, where I was last seen in Trudy and Max in Love, Death of a Salesman and Chinglish—that last one is where I got to speak my first language of Chinese on stage! It takes a lot of bravery to stand up tall and use your voice to speak the truth—in acting and in life—so I thank my family and friends for showing me what courage looks like and teaching me what strength feels like.

Amin El Gamal
Amin El Gamal (Munchkin 2/Guardian of the Gates/Monkey). According to my mom, I was born during an earthquake—and the drama didn’t stop there! I was in my first play in preschool, where I played a crazed barber. After that, I produced season-upon-season of theatrical spectacles in my parents’ garage, starring my begrudging little brothers (though they eventually went on strike, and I ended up having to use stuffed animals instead). Since then, I studied acting and writing at Stanford University and the University of Southern California, and have been in some TV shows, movies and plays (usually for grown-ups). The original Oz books by L. Frank Baum were my favorites growing up, and Judy Garland’s performance in The Wizard of Oz inspired me to become an actor, so I’m especially excited to be visiting Oz with you today!

Michael Faulkner
Michael Faulkner (Toto/Munchkin 1/Monkey/Steve). I’ve never been to Oz, but I have driven through Kansas—on a children’s theatre tour during my first professional acting job after college. And get this: in fifth grade, I played the Tin Woodsman in my elementary school play! Today, I am glad to have traveled all over the world performing with a three-man comedy troupe, The Reduced Shakespeare Company. I love performing “un-reduced” Shakespeare too, and have played most of his funny characters including Malvolio, Feste, Launcelot Gobbo, Elbow, Starveling, Petruchio and more. I’ve also encouraged your parents to buy things by appearing in oodles of television commercials. South Coast Repertory fans may have seen me in Six Degrees of Separation, Rhubarb Jam or the original The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. My wife also acts, and she was in last year’s Stinky Cheese Man. Luckily, people haven't started referring to us as that “stinky couple!”

Joe Fria
Joe Fria (Uncle Henry/Scarecrow). I'm so excited to be playing the role of the Scarecrow here at SCR. It’s a part I've wanted to play ever since I saw The Wizard of Oz at Radio City Music Hall in New York City when I was 10 years old! My mom took me to a lot of shows in New York when I was a kid. That inspired me to start taking dance classes, which she was happy to make happen. Years later, I would end up at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the best acting programs in the country! More recently, you might have seen me in TV shows like “Gilmore Girls” and “Community” or in commercials for Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts! Dream big and never give up!

Christopher Rivas
Christopher Rivas (Tin Man). I’m so happy to be at SCR once again, this time having a blast in OZ 2.5. I have spent the last few months writing and rewriting the first feature film that I sold. I have been on television in “Shameless” and some features coming out later next year, but I always will return to my home, the stage. I love theatre, and I’ve done plays all over the world. I love how theatre lets me go to different places and be so many things, character-wise. Theatre is the thing that changed my life, gave me purpose, and what an honor it is to be doing it today.

Emily Yetter
Emily Yetter (Dee). I love working as an actress because each role is a unique adventure. Perhaps you saw me battle a huge raccoon as the night fairy in The Night Fairy here at SCR, fly 30 feet in the air as Tinker Bell in the national tour of Peter Pan in a big tent next door or more recently at The Walt Disney Concert Hall in a beautiful show called Bolero: Ravel’s Dance for Orchestra. In that show, I acted and danced with more than 70 musicians on stage. It was amazing! I also love to create my own movies and plays with my friends, so we started a company called A Working Theater for an excuse to do it all the time. I studied acting at UCLA, the British Academy of Dramatic Arts and currently study physical arts like dance, acrobatics and aerial arts.
Creative Team
Shelley Butler (Director) is happy to return to SCR after directing The Borrowers, A Wrinkle in Time, The Brand New Kid, Charlotte’s Web and James and the Giant Peach, along with several NewSCRipts and Pacific Playwrights Festival readings. She began her life in the theatre playing the role of the Carrot in The Magic Toothbrush. Not long after this experience, she realized what she wanted to do was be in charge of putting the whole story together. At the age of 16, she directed her first play—a production of Little Shop of Horrors with forty junior high students. Shelley grew up in Maine and went to school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been lucky enough to travel around the country telling stories and directing new plays. She remembers playing Mario Brothers and has a five year old who loves Candy Crush—but not as much as Dee loves OZ!

François-Pierre Couture (Scenic Design) moved from Montréal (that’s right, Canada) to Los Angeles to complete his MA in scenic and lighting design at UCLA in 2006. This redhead loves to imagine and make tiny models of giant sets so actors can play with them. He also likes to hear the reaction of the audience when they discover the stage for the first time. Aside from playing OZ 2.5 at SCR and other design games at theaters like The Theatre @ Boston Court or the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City, he teaches young and bright students at East Los Angeles College and Loyola Marymount University. If you want to know more about what he likes (and what he doesn't like, such as whiny people, routines and raw onions) you can visit him at www.fpcouture.com

Sara Ryung Clement (Costume Design) was just two years old, she started to pick out her own outfits. Pretty soon, she was telling her mother what to wear, too—although her mom did not always take her advice. Sara went to the Yale School of Drama to learn more about theatre, painting and how to turn drawings into costumes and sets. Now that she is a theatre designer, Sara works with the director to decide who wears what in a show and why they wear what they wear. You may have seen her costumes in Ben and the Magic Paintbrush or in Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business at SCR. She is glad to have the continued support of her parents, who still put her drawings up on the fridge.

Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Lighting Design) is a professor at UC Irvine, and a professional lighting designer. He has designed for various regional theatres, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Great River Shakespeare Festival and Utah Shakespearean Festival. Among the productions he has designed at SCR are The Whipping Man, Dialogos: The Long Road Today, La Posada Mágica, Goldfish, Bunnicula, James and the Giant Peach and Jane of the Jungle. Recent designs include A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Oedipus El Rey at San Diego Repertory, Steel Magnolias at East West Players, SEED: A Weird Act of Faith for Cornerstone Theater Company, where he is an associate artist and Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor at Great River Shakespeare Festival. He also was a designer for Universal Studios Japan. He is a member of the United Scenic Artist/IATSE - Local 829. His complete design portfolio can be found at www.lradesigns.com

John Ballinger (Sound Design and Original Music) was seven years old when his mother taught him to play the piano. When he was eight years old—in the third grade—he joined the school orchestra and played the clarinet. Since that time, he has played in a lot of shows and made a lot of music for theatre, film and TV. John likes to read the script for a play, talk with the director and make music that helps the audience understand and enjoy what the actors are doing on stage. Making sound effects is a lot of fun, too! OZ 2.5 is the fourth time he has worked for South Coast Repertory.

Kaitlyn Pietras (Projection Design) is a Los Angeles-based scenic and projection designer. She fell in love with theatre in high school; her drama teacher, Kathryn Bernardo, remains one of her favorite teachers of all time. Kaitlyn loves buildings and she studied architecture at Clemson University. She decided that she missed theater too much to pursue architecture and moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA and become a theatre artist. While at UCLA, she discovered the super cool world of projection design and now she spends most of her days using computer programs like Photoshop and After Effects. Kaitlyn has designed for shows all over the country and she is really excited to be designing her first show at SCR.

E.D. Brown (Choreography) considers herself a tumbleweed. She and her sisters were always the new kids wherever they lived, so they would make up stories, characters, dances and plays to pass the time. But, E.D. just never stopped. Right after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—where she first worked with director Shelley Butler—she was cast in the international percussion sensation, Stomp. She toured the world with Stomp and, when she returned to the United States, she expanded her career to include writing. Brown has recently finished writing, directing and producing her first TV series called “Sidetracked.” She would like to thank SCR for this wonderful opportunity and Shelley Butler for always being an inspiration. “We are such stuff, as dreams are made on.”

Kathryn Davies (Stage Manager) grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she studied piano, ukulele, recorder and tap dancing. Her parents took her to see a lot of shows, and she decided to become a stage manager when she was in the 12th grade. Her high school drama teacher, Mr. Drew, inspired her to do this. Throughout the years, she has studied French, Italian, German and Spanish, which has helped her to work on big opera productions. She is very grateful to her parents for making her keep up with her music lessons, because if she hadn’t, she wouldn’t be able to do what she does now. Today, Kathryn gets to work with amazingly creative actors, directors, designers, singers, musicians and film stars in several countries.
From the Blog
Munchkin Costume RenderingVideo Game is Setting For Rebooted Story of Oz
Dorothy, Tin Man and Lion jump into a video game version of Oz in the next Theatre for Young Audiences production by Catherine Treschmann. read more
Catherine TreischmannPODCAST: Follow the Yellow Brick Road to SCR
Playwright Catherine Trieschmann re-read L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and was inspired to re-boot the story. ​She talks with Associate Artistic Director John Glore about her first play for young people. Listen now

Download the OZ 2.5 study guide
Peek into the OZ 2.5 production program

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