This holiday season, "we're off to see " THE WIZARD OF OZ! Click your heels together three times and join The Scarecrow, The Tinman, The Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and Toto too, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and obtain their hearts' desires. This production contains all of the beloved Oscar-winning songs from the movie, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way. Rediscover the real story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat for the whole family. THE WIZARD OF OZ promises to be one of the most spectacular holiday productions ever staged by the Walnut!
This stage version of THE WIZARD OF OZ was first presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Centre in London in 1987. The show is one of many adaptations based on the American childrens novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. The RSC version, adapted by John Kane, is based also on the 1939 film starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr. Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg provided the music and lyrics for the film, which are the same songs heard in the musical, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Were Off to See the Wizard and Ding, Dong! The Witch is Dead! This popular adaptation toured nationally from 2008 through 2011 and continues to be produced by regional theatres across the country.
THE WIZARD OF OZ marks Glenn Casales Walnut directorial debut. His work includes the 1999 Broadway revival of Peter Pan, which received a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as the National Tour of Peter Pan and the A&E television production. He also directed the National Tour of Dr. Dolittle and Dragapella! at Studio 54, which was nominated for a Drama Desk and two Lucille Lortel Awards. Casale is Artistic Director of California Musical Theatre, a position hes held since 2008. His work has been seen at numerous regional theatres and on television. Patti Colombo joins Casale as choreographer. Colombo provided choreography for the same revival of Peter Pan which Casale directed on Broadway. She also choreographed the A&E television production, which earned an Emmy Award nomination for Choreography. Additional credits include National Tours (Dr. Dolittle, Seussical the Musical, Guys and Dolls, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and International Tours (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). John Daniels returns as Music and Vocal Director. Daniels Walnut credits include The Buddy Holly Story and South Pacific.
From the heartland of Kansas, to the merry old land of Oz, Stephen Gifford is the Set Designer for this iconic production. Gifford has designed for productions including Tarzan the Musical for 3-D Theatricals, Billy Elliot the Musical for La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and McCoy Rigby Entertainment and Old Wicked Songs for The Colony Theatre. Gifford and Lighting Designer David Neville make their Walnut debuts with THE WIZARD OF OZ. Neville has provided lighting designs for theatre including Music Theatre of Wichita, Ordway Music Theatre, Papermill Playhouse and Theatre Under the Stars, and has provided assistant design work for the First National Tour of Les Misérables. Mary Folino returns as Costume Designer. Folinos work has been seen in Walnut productions, including South Pacific, High Society and Peter and the Starcatcher. Ed Chapman (In the Heights and Mary Poppins) joins the design team as Sound Designer. William Berloni is the Animal Trainer for the production, with Dusty and Nessa sharing the role of Toto. Berloni rescued both through Cairn Terrier Rescue USA.
Leading the way down the yellow brick road, Dorothy Gale will be played by Adrienne Eller, making her Walnut debut. Eller joins the cast having just completed a year touring as Phoebe on the First National Tour of A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder. Joining her on her quest to find the Wizard are Christopher Shin as Tin Man and Hickory; Christopher Sutton as Scarecrow and Hunk; and Nichalas L. Parker as the Cowardly Lion and Zeke. Shin was most recently in South Pacific at the Walnut. Audiences will remember Sutton from his unforgettable roles in Walnut productions, including Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story, The Old Man in A Christmas Story and Buddy the Elf in Elf. Parker returns to the Walnut having recently appeared in Peter and the Starcatcher and Memphis.
Glinda, the witch of the North, and Dorothys beloved Aunt Em will be played by Lyn Philistine. At the Walnut, Philistine was most recently seen in A Christmas Story as the Mother, with additional credits including Buddy Holly Story and I Love You, Youre Perfect, Now Change. Ellie Mooney joins the cast as Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West. Mooney has performed in numerous Walnut productions, including Sister Act, Harvey, A Christmas Story and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Bill Van Horn returns as Professor Marvel and The Wizard. Walnut audiences will remember Van Horn from A Christmas Story, Mary Poppins and Elf. From Luther Billis in South Pacific to the land of Oz, Fran Prisco will play Uncle Henry and is a member of the ensemble.
The ensemble includes Rachel Beiswenger (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), Sara Brophy (Sister Act), Billy D. Hart (South Pacific), Jesse Jones (High Society), Bonnie Kelly (A Christmas Story), Scott Langdon (A Christmas Story), Scott Leiendecker (La Cage aux Folles), Ben Liebert (9 To 5), Barbara McCulloh (The Sound of Music), Kathryn Miller (South Pacific), Alanna J. Smith (A Christmas Story), Sean Thompson (South Pacific) and Michelle West, making her Walnut Street Theatre debut. Ensemble members Rochelle Smith (A Christmas Story) and Andrew Eckert (Mary Poppins) will also take on roles behind-the-scenes as Dog Handler and Dance Captain, respectively.
The youngest members of the cast are all local to the Philadelphia area and students of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Ready to welcome you to Munchkinland, the Walnut welcomes back Jillian Henderson (A Christmas Story) of Cherry Hill, NJ; Jacob Wilner (Mary Poppins) of Malvern, PA; Sophia Henkel (Mary Poppins) of Philadelphia, PA; Daniel Previglian (A Christmas Carol) of Stratford, NJ; and Alanna Stein (A Christmas Story) of Voorhees, NJ as part of the childrens ensemble. Making their Walnut debut in the childrens ensemble, the Walnut welcomes: Lily Chancey, Chloe High and Kasey Turner of Philadelphia, PA; Noah Banner of Wynnewood, PA; Riley Keenan and Olivia Reitz of Pottstown, PA; Jenna Seasholtz of Coopersburg, PA; Anna Shea Safran of Doylestown, PA; Camiel Warren-Taylor of Sharon Hill, PA; Scott Angelides of Wayne, PA; Lyam David-Kilker of Bensalem, PA; Jordana Elle of Bryn Mawr, PA; Samantha Katzen of Gladwyne, PA; Louise Sims of West Chester, PA; Annabelle Corigliano of Blackwood, NJ; Sadie Lock of Wenonah, NJ; Theo Mitchell-Penner of Haddonfield, NJ; Quinn Wood of Cherry Hill, NJ; Olivia DAlessandro of Linwood, NJ; Talia Mazzuca of Turnersville, NJ; Naomi Serrano of Marlton, NJ; Abby Swaney of Westmont, NJ; and Miranda Zeno of Mickleton, NJ; and Shannon OSullivan and Harper Shepard of Wilmington, DE.THE WIZARD OF OZ runs at the Walnut November 8 through January 8. Open captioning will be available for the Sunday, December 4, 7pm performance. The Tuesday, December 27 performance will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described. This production is sponsored by Stradley Ronon. Media Partners are NBC 10 and Metro Philadelphia. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.