For awhile on opening night I wondered just how sane director Douglas C. Vandegrift must be after putting together this production on such a small stage. Totaling up the large cast of characters, I figured he had somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 characters, which may or may not have been on stage all at the same time.
Times two.Like many of the nonprofessional, year-round theaters in the area, RMT's productions are nearly always double-cast. I have no idea what it must be like directing a show with two completely separate casts, but it must be pretty crazy.
The fact that there were some opening night glitches wasn't all that surprising. Every show has them.
While the Great and Wonderful Wizard of Oz was handing out hearts, courage and brains, it's too bad he couldn't have fixed the Tin Man's malfunctioning microphone (early in the first act), jogged a couple of actors' memories or even kicked the box-office computer, which was producing duplicate tickets - putting both season subscribers and single-ticket buyers in the same seats.
Beyond that, RMT's production of the Royal Shakespeare Company's version of "The Wizard of Oz" clipped right along . . . following Dorothy and Toto (mechanical and battery-driven) from the tornado-ravaged Kansas prairie to the colorful world of Munchkinland and Dorothy's adventures with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion along the Yellow Brick to the Emerald City.
There were some fine performances en route: Addie Gibson, as Dorothy Gale, has a beautifully trained voice; Eric Jensen as the Scarecrow (OK, he was a little over the top now and then and could certainly rein things in a bit); Randall Edwards as the Lion; Ron Glaittli as the Tin Man (one of the show's best performances); Corene Heaps as the Wicked Witch of the West; Ron Ross (whom some of you may remember fondly as Fireman Frank) as both Professor Marvel and the slightly addlepated Wizard; and Brannon Richardson as the hilariously agitated Oz Guard.
Bob Jones and Meredith Gibson were also nicely cast as Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.
Jensen, Glaittli and Edwards also showed up in the opening scenes as three country bumpkins on Uncle Henry's farm.
Jennifer Davies' costumes, Brandon and Douglas Vandegrift's scenery and Kevin Mathie's sound were all nicely handled.
Kim Madsen's choreography, including the often-neglected "Jitterbugs" number, was also well done.
RMT's "Wizard of Oz" should quickly evolve into a solid show, worthy of support by area families.
- The alternate cast includes Jenny Bangerter, Cody Sims, Chuck Gilmore, David Madsen, Don Sims, Ann Lalli, Bruce Darby, Lisa Flinders and Michael Carroll in the major roles.