Wizard of Oz on stage at David Douglas High

Opening November 29, see why, in addition to the story’s beloved main characters and great special effects, the scene-stealer is Dorothy’s dog, Toto! Take a look …

While her new friends in the Land of Oz have other desires, Dorothy (Tegan Tracy, in rehearsal, not yet costumed) and her aunt’s dog, Toto, say they just want to go home.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Want to start the season with a fun, family show? You don’t have to travel downtown Portland to see great theater – just head for David Douglas High School’s production of the Broadway Musical version of The Wizard of Oz, starting November 29.

“We have a great cast,” says the show’s director, Michael Givler. “This Broadway-style production, originally adapted for the Royal Shakespeare Company, brings a lively, fresh, and unique look to a classic childhood story.”

Well over 100 students are involved in this production, adds Givler. The cast features 56 actors, singers, and dancers. They’re musically accompanied by a full-staffed student orchestra.

The brain-deficient Scarecrow (Sam De Roest), the heart-lacking Tin Woodsman (Ada Chang), the homesick Dorothy (Tegan Tracy), and the Cowardly Lion (Robert Hill) find themselves bedeviled and in the clutches of a bad witch’s minions.

Fast paced and fun
As we watch a technical rehearsal, the dancers are working out the details of a number that will take place in the Emerald City – home of the great Wizard, Oz.

Next, thanks to the technical expertise of theater manager, Mark Taylor, and his student crew of 20 stage technicians, we watch witches fly – yes, actually fly – into a scene, trying to grab the central character, Dorothy, and her dog Toto.

David Douglas High School drama instruction, and the show’s director, (In a black shirt, third from the left) Michael Givler, coaches the actors in a scene from Wizard of Oz.

In many student productions of The Wizard of Oz, you’ll see Toto represented by a stuffed toy animal. But this show features a real Toto – the cutest little black terrier.

About the story
First published in 1900, L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Dorothy, a young girl living on a Kansas farm with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, is swept up in a tornado. She, her dog Toto, and the farmhouse itself crash-land in Munchkin Land – right smack on the Wicked Witch of the East.

A flying witch (not yet in costume, of course) grabs Dorothy, and tries to fly her away from her friends.

A good witch directs Dorothy and three new friends – a brainless Scarecrow, a heartsick Tin Woodsman, and a ‘fraidy-cat Cowardly Lion – to the City of Emeralds to ask the Wizard of Oz for help. How do they find their way? “Follow the yellow brick road!”

An entertainment bargain
The show opens on November 29 at 7:30 p.m.; and runs Nov. 30, December 1, 6, 7 and 8. And, there’s a special matinee performance on Sunday, December 2 at 2:30 p.m.

When word gets out about the excellence of this show, the later performances will most likely sell out. Buy your tickets now, and enjoy this great show.

Tickets for this full-evening show are just $10 for adults; $7 student/seniors. For ticket information, call the David Douglas Box Office at (503) 261-8270 from 3 to 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays on school days, as well as
an hour before show times. Or, e-mail DDHSboxoffice@ddouglas.k12.or.us.

All performances are held at the Howard F. Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Ave. (between SE Stark St. and Division St.).

Expect great sets, professional lighting, and clear sound – twenty student technicians, directed by theater manager Mark Taylor (calling out cues in this photo), give the show a professional feel.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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