Follow, follow, follow, follow

Posted Sunday, August 11, 2019 in Culture

Follow, follow, follow, follow

The Wizard of Oz. Marc Robin (Scarecrow), Ian Knaur (Tinman), Carolyn Anne Miller (Dorothy), David Girolmo (Lion).Photo by Roger S. Duncan

by Gina Hamilton

Follow the yellow brick road!

The Maine State Music Theatre finale this year is The Wizard of Oz, and if the beloved children's musical takes you back to the 1939 Technicolor film, well, that's mostly by design.

For those who grew up with a yearly showing of the Judy Garland film, MSMT's version will feel like going home and being eight in front of your color television with homemade buttered popcorn and lemonade served by your mom. It doesn't matter how many time you see the movie or the fact that you know all the lines, it's part of your young life, and you cheer for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion as they get their hearts' desire.

The role of Dorothy was played by the young first-time MSMT actress, Carolyn Anne Miller, who acknowledged that she was also a big fan of the movie as a child. Her foil and opposite was Marc Robin, who choreographed the piece but also played the Scarecrow. His choreography of the twister was at once campy and terrifyingly dark.

The other major characters were played by Ian Knaur (the Tin Man), David Girolmo (the Cowardly Lion), and Susan Cella as The Wicked Witch and Almira Gulch. Lauren Blackman played Glinda the Good Witch, and Andy Kindig played the Wizard. Toto was played by Zelda.

Twenty local children and young adults played the ensemble, including the Munchkin cast, the Wicked Witch's guards/flying monkeys, and the townspeople of Oz.

There were a few interesting touches, mainly on the choreography side of the equation. In addition to the aforementioned twister dancers, the beautiful dancer Michael Olaribigbe danced the role of the Yellow Brick Road, reminicent of the dancers from The Wiz. The flying monkeys were a single "monkey" and multiple projections, giving the illusion of a sky full of menacing creatures.

Hamilton Meserve, current Lincoln County Commissioner serving the Boothbay region, whose mother, Dorothy Hamilton, the film's original Wicked Witch, was a special guest on opening night. Dorothy Hamilton played the Wicked Witch during the first MSMT performance of the Wizard of Oz, when it was performed in the early 1960s.

But for the most part, The Wizard of Oz will appeal to those who loved the film as children or for whom this will provide a first glimpse of a perennial favorite. Go and see the Wizard of Oz, which runs until Aug. 24. Take a handy young person with you, especially one who may be too young to remember the yearly television showings of the film.

Ticket information is available at msmt.org.


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