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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Off to see the wizard…

 
 

No, Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore. The yellow brick road will be winding its way through Aggieland this October. The Theatre Company’s first production for its 2010-2011 season will be John Kane’s beloved musical, The Wizard of Oz. A cast of 74 Bryan-College Station residents — children, students, parents and everything in between — is currently rehearsing for 12 performances of this classic to begin shows Friday.
The Theatre Company is a community theatre organization in Bryan, housed in a converted movie theater, which puts on about six Broadway musicals each year. This season offers classics like The Wizard of Oz, Annie and Follies, seasonal shows like White Christmas, and less well-known musicals such as A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.
The group is entirely made up of volunteer actors, set designers, stage managers, musicians, choreographers and costume managers from the Brazos Valley. College Station native Randy Wilson serves as the artistic director. Wilson appeared in the Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar as Pontius Pilate; he also tackled the role of Jesus in the show’s tour. To date, he has been directing shows at the Theatre Company for more than a decade.
“I directed it [The Wizard of Oz] about 11 years ago, so I knew what I was up against. It’s great fun to do it again,” Wilson said.
The 74-member cast is one of the biggest in the theatre’s history, and includes members ranging in age from three to nearly 70. In fact, it contains is at least one instance of a family generational span: Andy Wagers, a Texas A&M doctorate student in the astronomy and physics department, was cast in the show alongside his wife, Kari, and their son Dillon.
“It’s a little challenging, but it’s fun at the same time,” Wagers said of fitting rehearsal time into the family’s schedule.
Managing such a large group of actors has proved an interesting task for those involved.
“There are kids as young as three in the show, and getting them to do anything is challenging. They’re doing well though. They’re working hard,” said Evan Nault, an A&M graduate student of epidemiology and choreographer for the show. This is his second production with the community theater.
The iconic role of Dorothy Gale will be played by Hannah Lee, a high school junior and regular cast member at the Theatre Company. Tackling the role of the famous gingham-wearing girl marks Lee’s fifth appearance on the company’s stage.
“It’s been fun having a lot of people because you make a lot of friends,” she said. “I like it.”
One such new friend is Chloe, the Yorkshire terrier who will be playing the role of Dorothy’s beloved canine companion, Toto.
The set design for this show is, as one would expect, very involved. However, this is a production aspect which benefits from having such a large cast because all actors double as crew members. Actors spend time on the weekends helping construct the set pieces used in the show.
“Each actor is required to put in six hours of work in building the set — it’s been a total community effort,” said Jim Rosales, vice president of productions. Performers are additionally responsible for changing sets during the show.
With affordable prices, a strong sense of community and a seasonally appropriate scarecrow, the Theatre Company’s The Wizard of Oz offers whimsical, nostalgic entertainment. After all, rumor has it, the wizard’s pretty wonderful.
Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Tickets can be purchased at thetheatrecompany.com.

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