FORT MADISON – Looking for something to smile about? Go see “The Wizard of Oz” at Old Fort Players in Fort Madison.
OFP returns this weekend with its summer youth theater program with two short plays. Headlining is “The Wizard of Oz” featuring young children, followed by older kids in their production of “The Rehearsal”.
The two shows follow one another on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, thanks to a grant from Centraide.
“Because we have been absent from the scene for so long, we have decided to extend our age limit and divide the young people into two groups,” said director Richar Abel.
The program features too many children to list here – 16 actors in 31 roles for “Oz” and 13 others playing 16 characters in “Rehearsal”.
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But we’ll give you four, because the story of “Oz” is about their characters: Sunshine Zioui is the Cowardly Lion, Aida Troutman is Dorothy, McKensie Daly is Tin Woodman, and Sofia Gilbert is the Scarecrow.
The first production will make you laugh, the second will make you smile.
‘The Wizard of Oz’
Directed by Abel, the OFP version of “The Wizard of Oz” is simply lovely. Some of the kids playing the munchkins are real-life munchkins with ages closer to 4 or 5 than what the original casting call asked for.
Two of the many enchanting elements of this production of “Oz” are the flying monkey costume – those wings actually flap and the creature is as spooky as the movie version – and the countless scene changes, which lead to backstage wailing, laughter and curious noises. , which will make theater lovers sparkle.
A witch’s hat to anyone who has to open and close these curtains so many times.
“The Wizard of Oz” is a 1939 musical film adapted from the 1900 children’s fantasy novel by L. Frank Baum, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and was produced by MGM. The film has been banned several times over the years for having a woman as a hero – the book was banned by libraries in 1928 for being “ungodly” by “portraying women in strong leadership roles”. filed an attempt to ban the book from public schools because it included a nice witch.
In “The Rehearsal,” also directed by Abel, a young teacher tries to direct a production of “Guys and Dolls” but is embarrassed by her selfish stage manager, a lead actor who thinks the cast should be doing “Wicked” instead. , and a young woman who is unable to follow instructions and has a doctor’s note to prove it.
And, of course, all of the “guy” roles are played by girls because only one guy shows up at rehearsal – Oscar Bauswell, who also plays the wizard in “Oz”.
“The Rehearsal” is a satirical take on all the drama one can find in a theater club.
Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra directed the 1955 musical film “Guys and Dolls”.
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One quirk of note for the OFP version of “The Rehearsal” recalls the old theatrical maxim, “breaking a leg,” which is meant behind the scenes around the world to bring good luck to any performer about to leave the safety of it. curtain.
Elianna Karriker as Girl 3 wears crutches on stage, but luckily they are props.
Olivia Shields as Morgan, meanwhile, has a real brace on her leg. On July 1, she was hit by a car while riding a bicycle.
Don’t worry: Shields is fine, and if you tell her to break her other leg, the whole cast will laugh with her.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The OFP was alerted Thursday evening that one of the actors had tested positive for COVID-19. This person is in quarantine and will not play. Any children in the cast and crew who wish to stay will be kept away from the audience behind the scenes, according to Dorothy Schulte, who explained that the theater had been thoroughly cleaned.
Seats will be socially distanced and masks are recommended for people who have not been vaccinated.
Tickets cost $ 8 for adults $ 5 for students and are available online through a link on oldfortplayers.com and the theater’s Facebook page. Those wishing to pay in cash or on credit at the door are asked to reserve their seats through Facebook Messenger or by phone (319) 372-9559.
The theater is located in downtown Fort Madison at 725 Avenue G. Send a Facebook message, email [email protected] or call (319) 372-9559 for more information.