Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Drayton Entertainment Opens The Wizard of Oz Tonight

The St. Jacobs Country Playhouse finishes its 2011 Season with one of the most cherished musicals of all time. The Wizard of Oz - the irresistible tale about fantasy, friendship and the quest for home, entertains audiences of all ages now through December 18th.

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment, says The Wizard of Oz presents a wonderful opportunity for young people to discover live theatre. This highly anticipated production features some of Canada's top theatrical talent.

"The Wizard of Oz is family entertainment at its best - it's full of memorable music, fun characters, and a story that is genuinely captivating," says Mustakas. "The Wizard of Oz is an enduring favourite of theatregoers everywhere and we are excited to present this larger-than-life production to our audiences in the Tri-Cities for the first time."

After a twister hits her Kansas farm, dreamy Dorothy Gale is transported over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz. She soon teams up with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, and embarks on an epic journey, along with her faithful dog Toto, to find the mighty Wizard who can make their wishes come true.

Featuring such treasured songs as "Over the Rainbow", "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead" and "If I Only Had a Brain", The Wizard of Oz promises to enchant munchkins of all ages.

Director Adam Furfaro expertly guides a huge cast including 12 professional actors, one adorable canine and 52 local children, who rotate performing on stage in groups of 12. His creative staging brings this treasured story to life with all the charm and magic that audiences expect from this much-loved musical.

Choreographer Linda Garneau creates exuberant choreography that perfectly captures both the intimate scenes and the grand ensemble numbers.

Music Director Peter Aylin leads a top-notch band through wistful ballads, clever comedic songs, and lively ensemble numbers that add just the right context to this fanciful story.

The striking Set Design by Jean Claude Olivier, captivating Lighting Design by Kevin Fraser, and dazzling Costume Design by Rachel Berchtold work together to transform the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse into the wonderful Land of Oz. The sets, lighting and costumes are full of vibrant colours to make each scene and character stand out beautifully.

Leading lady Amy Wallis gets to the heart of headstrong heroine Dorothy Gale - her enticing smile and feisty energy command attention. Both fragile and brassy, Wallis' voice is perfect for the demands of the iconic role - her expressive rendition of "Over the Rainbow" is endearing.

Stephen Roberts is ideally suited for the role of the Scarecrow. His marvellous voice and playful demeanour immediately win over the audience and keep everyone rooting for the Scarecrow while his uniquely physical humour elicits laughs at every turn.

Complete with his oil can, Jonathan Whittaker takes on the jovial role of the Tin Man. His imposing stature and charisma make him a natural choice for the well-loved character who hopes the wizard will give him a heart.

Nick Settimi displays impeccable comic timing as the Cowardly Lion. Engaging audiences with his lovable roar, Settimi is a great fit for the incorrigible sweetie in search of courage. Audiences may recognize Settimi from his hilarious performance as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee last season.

Wallis, Roberts, Whittaker and Settimi have undeniable chemistry - all have excellent voices and animated facial expressions that shine throughout the performance - when they finally sing "We're off to See the Wizard" as a quartet, the energy is palpable.

With his commanding stage presence and unfailing charm, BrIan McKay is well cast as Professor Marvel and The Great Oz. Karen K. Edissi brings warmth and wit to her role as Auntie Em and sparkles as Glinda, the good witch complete with a gorgeous pink gown befitting the role. Both McKay and Edissi boast impressive credits, having performed leading roles throughout Canada and abroad, including numerous roles with Drayton Entertainment.

Stage veteran Larry Mannell plays dependable Uncle Henry to the letter, while Danielle Benton, Allan Gillespie, Sarah Higgins and Kevin Morris play multiple roles including Munchkin-folk, trees, crows, monkeys and more with remarkable ease.

The Wizard of Oz would not be complete without a Wicked Witch of the West and Jackie Mustakas captures the spirit of the infamous character perfectly. Mustakas was last seen on stage this summer at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend as Miss Adelaide in Drayton Entertainment's production of Guys and Dolls for which she received rave reviews.

Dorothy's canine sidekick Toto is played by Tilley, a Norfolk Terrier, who is reprising the role after a successful run at the Grand Theatre in London.

Brooke Bauer, Jessie Bauer, Karley Breen, Alexandra Chaves, Cassidy Clemmer, Mckaela Coutts, Madison Dillon, Terese Dimeck, Sarah Elop, Katherine Fischer, Kelsey Fowler, Ellena Grant, Aidan Grierson, Avery Grierson, Jessica Heard, Christopher Jones, Peter Jones, Justine LeBlanc, Avery Lehmann, Aaron LeMay, Avery Lemon, Liz Mallory, Danika McHugh-Scott, Samantha McJannet, Kaleigh Murphy, Hadley Mustakas, Lukas Mustakas, Ella Nafziger, Kaylee Rice, Lauren Roth, Annie Sawatzky, Hayley Schroder, Colleen Scott, Keenan Smits, Meghan Specht, Regan Stiles, Morgan Thibeault, Avery Trask, Violet Vaughn, Lily Villeneuve, Hannah Weber, Spencer Wither, Macie Yott, and Lillian Ziss are cast as the children's chorus. The young actors are split into five teams - The Emerald City Chorus, The Ruby Slippers Chorus, The Yellow Brick Road Chorus, The Blue Monkeys Chorus and The Silver Storm Chorus - each team takes the stage for 8 performances.

Local up-and-coming performers Charlene Guild, Brittany MacDonald, Gabby Martindale, Caitlin Meyer, Parker Ruby, Natalie Scagnetto, Madison Sekulin, and Caroline Wiechers are members of The Thunder and Lightning Choruses who rotate each day and take the stage for a total of twenty performances each.

"The Wizard of Oz is a musical for all audiences," says Mustakas. "It is sure to entertain both the seasoned theatregoer and someone experiencing the magic of this timeless musical for the first time."

The Wizard of Oz is an adaptation of the classic 1939 Hollywood film, which starred Judy Garland as Dorothy and "Over the Rainbow" won the 1939 Academy Award for Best Song.
L. Frank Baum wrote the first stage version of his novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1903. The musical version, adapted by John Kane from the Warner Bros movie, was premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company at London's Barbican Centre in 1987.

The Wizard of Oz is proudly sponsored by RBC Royal Bank and Strassburger Windows and Doors. Media Sponsors are Wave 94.7 and The Wellington Advertiser. The Design Sponsor is TD Waterhouse - The Brian Vickers Investment Group. The Orchestra Sponsor is ARCA Financial Group. The 2011 Season is proudly sponsored by Manulife Bank.

The Wizard of Oz runs for five weeks only, November 16th though December 18th. The run of the show is over 95% sold out in advance - theatregoers are encouraged to book their tickets today to avoid disappointment. Call the Box Office at (519) 747-7788 or toll free at 1-855-drayton (372-9866). For more information please visit www.stjacobscountryplayhouse.com.



Related Articles View More Toronto Stories


More Hot Stories For You