‘No place like home’ for ‘Wizard of Oz’ production
When “The Wizard of Oz” opens in early December as a collaborative production of Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University’s Drama Department, the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage will be home to a tornado, a dancing yellow brick road, talking and singing trees, life-size poppies and a 12-foot high talking mechanical head. With 23 scenes, more than 120 costumes and 25 special effects, the production will bring to life the 1939 movie classic and the original books by Syracuse native L. Frank Baum, while adding touches of local color: audiences will recognize parts of the Syracuse landscape in everything from Kansas to the Witch’s Castle.
“The Wizard of Oz” will run from Dec. 4-Jan. 11 and will be directed by Syracuse Stage Artistic Director Robert Moss, with choreography by Anthony Salatino and music direction by Dianne Adams McDowell. The role of Dorothy will be filled by SU senior Aynsley Bubbico, who last appeared as Salieri’s mistress in Syracuse Stage’s “Amadeus.” Joining Bubbico on her trip to Oz will be musical theater professor Rodney Scott Hundson and Broadway actors Mark Chmiel and Justin Greer, as well as local canine talent Zinger McArdle.
Fourteen SU students will play an average of four roles apiece, including parts of the tornado, Munchkins and Oz residents. They are sophomores Stephen Carrasco, Lani Corson and Tramaine Montell Ford; juniors Cait Doyle, Geoff Lutz, Jeremy Pasha, Cory Pattak, Michael Penna and Erin Zaruba; and seniors Jessica Diaz, Brett Essenter, Michelle Kinney, Lisa Kuhnen and Missy Morrison.
This year’s holiday production is the first for which all designers are SU faculty members, including Felix E. Cochren, Alex Koziara, Maria Marrero and Jonathan Herter. Their work will reflect Moss’ decision to embrace the theme of “there’s no place like home,” and the set designs and direction will include several unique touches of Syracuse. “I think we take Syracuse for granted,” says Moss. “Hopefully our production will help audiences appreciate our terrific hometown.” Audience members will be invited to fill out yellow “bricks,” sharing their thoughts on “why there’s no place like Syracuse as home,” to be displayed in the theater lobby as part of a yellow brick road.
As with past holiday productions, “Wizard of Oz” tickets are not sold by subscription. Tickets range from $15-$41 and are on sale now at the Syracuse Stage box office or by calling 443-3275 or visiting http://SyracuseStage.org.