Like many of you, I watched the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz” when I was a little girl. I have vivid memories of this colorful, captivating story. I wanted to be friends with the sweet and bewildered young Dorothy. Her endearing Yellow Brick Road travel companions, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were enchanting. Granted, the flying monkeys made me bury my head under my arm, but the kind and caring Glinda, the good witch, made everything all right again.
Because of these rich memories, I auditioned for Humboldt Light Opera Company’s summer production of “The Wizard of Oz.” It may be a bit of typecasting, but this six-foot-tall woman is happily playing a tree in this lively, charming production. Among other things, I get to sing back-up for the Tin Man. What a hoot! (More typecasting? My sweet husband plays Dorothy’s Uncle Henry.)
However, given our recent past, neither one of us could imagine meeting the demands of a show like this. We were (and still are) slogging through grief from the loss of beloved family members.
After considering our many positive experiences with HLOC, while acutely aware that our hearts were functioning at half speed, we decided to go ahead with the production. We trusted Oz would end up being something that made us feel better. And it is.
Last night’s rehearsal was a perfect example. I’d been in funk for most of the day, but I dragged myself to rehearsal. Once I stepped inside, I could hear our Munchkins singing their hearts out. I peeked in the window and saw these delightful little pips dancing away. I immediately felt lighter.
I was then pulled into a different room to try on the beautiful concoction I’ll be wearing in the Emerald City scene. Sneaking a peak in the mirror, I chuckled over my luscious, flamboyant ensemble and my mood took another step in the right direction.
While my sleeves were pinned, I enjoyed our amazing teenage girls as they slipped into their equally dazzling costumes. (Trust me, the visual extravaganza of Emerald City will be a feast for your eyes!) We have such a talented bunch of kids in this production. From the cutest little Munchkin to two of our remarkable leads, Hannah Davis (Dorothy) and Ty Vizener (Scarecrow), I appreciate these very likable young people. Alongside their boomer and senior cast members, we are all working hard to fulfill our performance and production responsibilities.
Next was our musical rehearsal, which ended up delivering the final piece of my good mood. Singing just does that for me, especially when I’m surrounded by friendly, collaborative people who have one goal in mind, to bring the very best possible Wizard of Oz to Humboldt County audiences.
And that’s where you come in. Won’t you join us for this lively, iconic show? You’ll be swept away by the pure magic and visual splendor of this production. And if my experience is worth anything, I’m willing to bet your mood will be pretty bright by the final curtain!
A special note for grandparents — this is an especially grandchild-friendly production. “The Wizard of Oz” offers a cast of delightful characters, memorable music, endless action, all brought alive through colorful sets and costumes. Why not make it a family affair? There will be three matinees at 2 p.m. on Sundays, Aug. 5, 12 and 19. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18. (Oz runs at the HSU Van Duzer Theater.)
Tickets range from $13 to $19 with a $1 discount for children and seniors. To purchase tickets, go to www.hloc.org, call 707-630-5013 or drop by HLOC’s ticket office at 92 Sunny Brae Center, Arcata. (Open Monday through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)