This holiday season, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts is staging the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of The Wizard of Oz. This classic story, in which a Kansas farm girl travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home, has been entertaining audiences for generations. The R.S.C. version is described as a more “faithful” adaptation of the film that many know and love. Guest Director Jaci Keagy explains, “Some of it will be very familiar, but there will be a few new things as well.”
Keagy, who directed more than 60 productions at Dover High School before retiring last April, makes her directorial debut at DreamWrights. In fact, about a quarter of this show’s crew and cast are new to DreamWrights. Keagy admits, “I love directing and knew I wanted to get involved as a director in community theatre when I retired. I accepted the challenge of this double casted musical with trepidation, but I’ve loved every minute of the experience and, even after all of my other shows, I’ve learned so many things.”
Chris Quigley, a familiar face (and voice) in York’s musical and performance scene, appears for the first time on the DreamWrights stage playing the cowardly Lion. Ironically, Quigley’s first experience with The Wizard of Oz was when he played the braggart munchkin at the age of ten when he attended York Catholic. But, his Oz history doesn’t stop there. In 2005, he directed the show at Susquehannock High School and most recently, he tapped his way into hearts as the Tinman at Acts of Kindness Theatre in a sheet metal costume. Chris says, “I love being the Lion now. So happy I wasn’t picked for the Tinman. I’ve done that before and I was afraid they’d pick me for that. It’s so nice doing a comedy part.”
Making their performance debuts are Daisy Raymond and Pepper Hollabaugh, both of whom play Toto during separate performances. The whole crew and cast is excited to add these two adorable distractions to the performance and, as Keagy points out, “The cute kids and dogs create an instant aww factor!”
The Wizard of Oz opens Friday, December 2 and runs December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 6:30pm and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.