Media Theatre's WIZARD OF OZ Closes January 10
"The Wizard of Oz", L. Frank Baum's family friendly fantasy in which a young Dorothy travels over the rainbow after a twister hits her Uncle's farm, is one of the most popular stories of all time due to the iconic film version. While the film celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, the stage version of the musical based on the movie claims The Media Theatre stage as its home this holiday season (Nov. 24, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010).
The Media Theatre will produce The Royal Shakespeare Company's version of the musical, which includes all of the well-known songs from the film ("Over the Rainbow", "If I Only Had A Brain", "Follow The Yellow Brick Road") and a number cut from the original movie ("Jitterbug"). Temple University's Peter Reynolds, who directed Media's popular "Altar Boyz" last season, will take the helm for "Oz".
Kim Carson, a Barrymore Award winning actress who was seen last season as "Cinderella" in People's Light and Theatre Company's holiday musical, takes on another iconic role as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz". Her other recent credits include the well-received "Grey Gardens" at Philadelphia Theatre Company and performances at Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre, New Jersey Rep, and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. She received her Barrymore Award as Outstanding Actress In A Musical in 2008 for her performance in Azuka Theatre Company's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".
Kathryn Kendall, who co-starred as Sister Robert Anne in the 25th Anniversary National Tour of "Nunsense" with Sally Struthers, adds the role of The Wicked Witch to her list of credits. Her television credits include "The Edge of Night" and "Loving" and she has appeared at numerous regional theatres (Goodspeed Opera House, St. Louis MUNY, George Street Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville). Ms. Kendall was last seen at The Media Theatre in "La Cage Aux Folles". She has shared the stage with John Raitt, Jerry Orbach, and Gregory Harrison.
John Jarboe, who appeared in The Media Theatre's "Show Boat" recently as Frank, will feature his movement skills once again as he takes on the role of The Scarecrow. He is joined by fellow "Show Boat" cast members Patrick Ludt as The Tin Man, Stephen Bonnell as Uncle Henry, April Woodall as Auntie Em (who is also Glinda, The Good Witch), and Roger Ricker as The Mayor of Munchkin City.
Daniel Stanton, familiar to Media Theatre audiences due to his performances in "My Fair Lady", "Oliver!", "Cats", and "Titanic", returns to delight all ages as The Cowardly Lion. He recently worked on the upcoming HBO film "You Don't Know Jack" starring Al Pacino.
In Media's "Oz" when Dorothy, The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion follow The Yellow Brick Road they will actually be following an actress who takes on the role of The Road. Gianna DiPasquale, who appeared in last season's acclaimed "Thoroughly Modern Millie", will portray The Yellow Brick Road with interesting choreography by Tim Craskey.
"The Wizard of Oz" ensemble includes Janet McWilliams, who won the "Delco Idol" contest in 2008 and appeared as Ida in "Honk" last winter. She has been seen on The Hedgerow Theatre stage and is a senior theatre major at Temple. She is joined by Alexander Fraser, Corinne Grosser, and Josh Moser in their second Broadway Series production at The Media Theatre. Tom McCormick returns after his appearance in Artistic Director Jesse Cline's well-reviewed production of "My Fair Lady" last season.
Several cast members make their debut on The Media Theatre stage in "The Wizard of Oz": Dan Schiff as The Wizard, Joey Tierno as The Jitterbug Dancer, and Philadelphia area actors Gnomiagre, JP Dunphy, Jessica Gruver, Leo Christopher Sheridan, and a two and half year old cairn terrior from Media named Ziva who will portray the important role of Toto.
The Munchkins are portrayed by 20 of the region's youth in two separate casts. David Reynolds designed the multi-level set, Troy Martin O'Shia adds his creative spark to the lighting design, and Mary Ann Swords-Greene designs costumes for the fourth time at The Media Theatre.
The Philadelphia Inquirer says The Media Theatre is ‘a professional theater devoted to the American musical'. For tickets to "The Wizard of Oz" at The Media Theatre November 24-January 10, call 610-891-0100 or visit www.mediatheatre.org. The Media Theatre has received 11 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre and over a dozen Reader's Choice polls as "Best Theatre". The Main Line Today Magazine named The Media Theatre as "The Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs" in 2009.
(PICTURED: The Tin Man (Patrick Ludt), Dorothy and Toto (Kim Carson and Ziva), The Cowardly Lion (Daniel Stanton), and Scarecrow (John Jarboe) prepare to go to the Emerald City in The Media Theatre's "The Wizard of OZ" through Jan. 10.)