Follow the Yellow Brick Road to South Coast Repertory: Theatre Conservatory Readies The Wizard of Oz
COSTA MESA, Calif. (July 12, 2019)— South Coast Repertory’s Summer Players take a journey down the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 10-18, Julianne Argyros Stage). Thirty-four student actors from SCR’s Theatre Conservatory take on nearly 90 characters in this adaptation of the classic film based on L. Frank Baum’s book series. This student production is directed by Hisa Takakuwa with music direction by Erin McNally. Tickets are available now at www.scr.org.
“I love the sense of wonder in The Wizard of Oz,” said Takakuwa, who heads up SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. “I love the story's sense of adventure and imagination and that it’s such a tribute to the strength, flexibility, openness and can-do spirit of a child.”
The familiar story follows Dorothy, Toto and their friends as they journey down the Yellow Brick Road and beyond in this timeless musical. With favorite songs like “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Over the Rainbow,”
McNally loves the evocative nature of the music.
“It’s simply a marvelous story with a glorious score and is connected to most of us in some deep and inexplicable way,” McNally said. “That connection traces back to our own childhood experiences with it. Just hearing the first few notes of the score literally sends chills.”
Takakuwa and McNally carefully choose summer shows for the conservatory students, which is one of three annual student productions at SCR.
“We love to choose a story that can be told resonantly from our young performers’ points of view,” Takakuwa explained. “This story will challenge them musically and offer an amazing range of characters to bring to life. It will demand that they fire on all cylinders as performers, to use all their training, and to work to create something with full commitment of heart and confidence. We like to explore great stories and share them with joy!”
Baum (1856-1919) was born to a wealthy family in Chittenango, NY. As a young avid writer, his works were published in a few local journals before he embarked on a career in theatre—a lifelong passion. His father bought Baum a theatre where he wrote plays, composed songs and was featured in leading roles. In 1900, Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was a huge success, and he continued to write, eventually publishing 13 more Oz books during his lifetime. In 1902, the original book was adapted as a musical for the stage and played on Broadway before embarking on a nationwide tour; in 1939, MGM made it into a successful and iconic film.
The design and creative team includes Leah Ramilliano, set design; Kathryn Poppen, costume design; Karyn D. Lawrence, lighting design; Jeff Polunas, sound design; Sjaan Z. Trowbridge, choreographer; Holly Ahlborn, production manager; and Rubén Bolívar, stage manager. This adaptation is by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company, based upon the classic motion picture owned by Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by Warner Bros.
The cast members are from19 Orange County cities and towns and are SCR Theatre Conservatory students in Grades 4-12. They were recommended by their acting instructors, auditioned and interviewed on their way to being cast. Over five weeks this summer, they rehearse approximately 125 hours over five weeks leading up to performances. See below for the full cast list, with school and town/city.
The show runs Aug. 10-18 (Saturday, Aug. 10, at 1 and 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 11, at 1 and 5 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, August 17 at 1 and 5 p.m.; Sunday, August 18, at 1 and 5 p.m.).
Tickets are $18 for children and $22 for adults, available through the SCR Box Office at (714) 708-5555 or online at www.scr.org.
The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
background music by Herbert Stothart
dance and vocal arrangements by Peter Howard
orchestration by Larry Wilcox
music direction by Erin McNally
directed by Hisa Takakuwa
Written by Alyssa Dong
ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, along with a Theatre for Young Audiences series, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 528 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. SCR is home to a Theatre Conservatory that offers year-round acting classes for kids, teens and adults. It produces three student shows each year, presented by the Junior Players, Teen Players and Summer Players. www.scr.org.