Off to see the Wizard

  • Dorothy, played by Maya Fabozzi, sings “Somewhere €˜Over the Rainbow”€™ during the dress rehearsal of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Concord City Auditorium. Finn Ladue as Toto watches on.

  • Dorothy played by Maya Fabozzi signs ‘Over the Rainbow’ during the dress rehearsal of the Wizard of Oz at the Concord Audi. Finn Ladue plays ToTo. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Wicked Witch of the West, played by Maggie Connolly, is warned that a house might fall on her by Glinda the Good Witch of the North, played by Hana Testerman.

  • Dorothy (Maya Fabozzi) and Toto (Finn Ladue) are greeted by the Munchkins and Glinda (Hana Testerman) at the dress rehearsal of the “Wizard of Oz” at the Concord City Auditorium on Tuesday night. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Dorothy played by Maya Fabozzi is held back by Auntie Em against Miss Gulch played by Maggie Connolly in the Wizard of Oz at the City Audi this weekend. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A classic show with big name recognition will be performed by the Children’s Theater Project of the Concord Community Players.

More than 45 children, ages 7 to 17, will perform The Wizard of Oz on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium.

This script is based on the 1939 film starring Dorothy Gale, so much of it will be familiar.

Maya Fabozzi takes the lead as Dorothy with 7-year-old Finn Ladue as her faithful and furry companion, Toto.

When a tornado whisks them out of Kansas and into the fantastical land of Oz, they’re greeted by Glinda (Hana Testerman) and a village of Munchkins. Desperate to return home, Dorothy is advised to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to get help from the Wizard (Daniel Pedersen). Along the way, Dorothy and Toto are joined by the Scarecrow (Caleb Anderson), Tin Man (Jazon Letender) and Cowardly Lion (Myles Luongo).

But the Wicked Witch (Maggie Connolly) is determined to thwart the quartet, exact revenge for her sister’s death and acquire Dorothy’s stunning ruby shoes.

The show is complete with the original songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”

Since the show is so much like the film, with quick changes between scenes and locations, the set is supplemented with a projected background created by Dave Peck.

Director Karen Braz hopes the fan-favorite show will introduce audiences to the talents of the children and that they’ll return again, even for lesser known theater productions.

Braz founded the Children’s Theater Project 22 years ago and has directed all its shows save one. She said they try to mix musicals with non-musicals, well-known and newer pieces. Last year, the group put on Shining Princess of the Slender Bamboo, based on a Japanese folk tale.

“To me, its a disservice to yourself” to only see familiar shows, she said.

She encourages people to expose themselves to different genres of theater.

For those who have seen past shows like Shrek or Beauty and the Beast and enjoyed it, come back for a show you haven’t heard about, she said.

The Wizard of Oz name attracted many children to audition, with more than 70 looking for a spot on the cast list. They’ve been rehearsing three days a week since the end of August.

“I hope for kids who are fairly new that they will understand and appreciate getting the show from page to stage,” Braz said.

“Kids see a final product and think, ‘I want to do that,’ but if they don’t like the process, it’s going to be difficult,” she explained.

She added that it was important for the children to learn to work as a team and understand that every role is as important as the next.

“There’s so many stories to be told … so many opportunities to improve yourself as an actor,” Braz said.

In addition to Braz, Tony Bonjorno is the musical director and Christina White directed choreography.

Steve Meier is listed as producer, but Braz said he also wore many other hats, including designing the program, building the set and arranging the set. Barb Woodman is also a producer.

Lisa Tillotson is the costum designer for the show, which she’s always wanted to do the dressings for, Braz said.

“So much work goes into a show,” Braz said.

Tickets are $15 and available at communityplayersofconcord.org or the Concord City Auditorium box office.