Everybody loves a trip down the yellow brick road. This summer our favorite characters—Dorothy, Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man—will trip through Stapleton’s Green in The Wizard of Oz.
The cast of 23 kids and 12 adults is mostly comprised of Stapleton residents, according to director Eric Peterson, a Stapleton resident since 2007. “My 8-year-old twins and my 10-year-old are in the cast—they are munchkins,” Peterson said. “It’s fun to have lots of kids in the show. Many of them play the nonhuman roles, like flying monkeys and crows. We pick shows that offer opportunities for both big and little people.”
A third evening has been added this year because of the popularity of the annual Theatre on The Green productions. “Last year more than 1,000 people came each night,” Peterson said. “A third night means we get to spend more time performing.”
Peterson said this production is quite similar to the movie, with the addition of several songs that were written for the movie but were cut out. “One recovered song is The Jitterbug. The wicked witch sends magical ‘jitterbugs’ that cause Dorothy and her friends to dance frenetically until they collapse and the flying monkeys subdue them. It’s a great tune.
“All the music written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, is tremendous. We’ll encourage the audience to sing along—but not with Dorothy’s solos, of course.”
The sets and costumes will have the look of the movie, with a black-and-white tone at the beginning that turns to color once Dorothy is in Munchkinland. “Everybody has two costumes. Dorothy’s black and white gingham dress turns to her signature blue and white in a quick costume change.”
Similarities to the movie won’t include a real dog playing Toto, however. “As W.C. Fields said, ‘Never share the stage with kids or dogs because they get all the attention,’” Peterson said. “The kids are super cute enough.”
The one-and-a-half-hour show is co-produced by MCA and The Three Leaches theatre company. “The Three Leaches do good quality stuff all over town,” Peterson said.
The Wizard of Oz has a timeless quality about it,” said Peterson, who has acted in the musical and directed it twice before. “You could become cynical about it, but there’s a reason people love it. It’s great to be able to put our stamp on something so iconic.”