The wonder of Oz

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Kathie can really sleep soundly now, the play is over. Oh, she didn’t worry and lie awake, but the obligation had loomed around her. I’m sure this was true for most of the huge cast of 80.

I don’t intend this as a review. You may read one if you live in our area and care, but I have a comment. This play was special for us – the first we’ve been involved in. It was special for Salem Community Theater as well. Every performance sold out. I heard talk of ticket scalping (for community theatre)! Ads were seen in the papers offering top dollar for tickets. WOW – what a hit!

It was a great experience for Kathie and her Munchkin friends, but they were on stage for such a short part of the three-hour production that few of them have seen the whole play. They’ll have to watch it on video.

The entire cast was superb. The scarecrow, played by Roger Gaskin, must have studied Ray Bolger’s every move in the film. As though we were watching Bolger himself, it was amazing how Gaskins made it real again.

Columbiana’s own Mark Hutson made a one word marvelous tinman. He displayed relentless energy with every dance (the jitterbug number was long),z never missing a beat. Maneuvering inside his cumbersome metal suit and keeping up the endless kicking was surely exhausting, but his “silver was well polished” as he rattled his suit on cue.

Kyle Snyder of Lisbon mastered a cowardly lion that I felt was better than in the movie. His timing was impeccable. The shining diamond of the show was Paige Kasten as Dorothy. The voice and stage presence of this Canfield High student are captivating. Not without experience, her off stage presence reveals that, for all her talent, she is warm and down to earth. She was wonderful with the Munchkins (my Munchkin adored her!).

What a show! We are fortunate to have such an enterprising community theater in Salem. It was a great for kids, great for families, and great entertainment.

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