I have always loved the theatre and I have been blessed to live in a community that values the arts. Albert Lea’s ACT on Broadway in my opinion rivals Broadway or Off Broadway. This is certainly true with this summer’s production of the Wizard of Oz.
I was invited to the last full dress rehearsal and as soon as the lights went down, Uncle Henry (played by Lynn Berven), Aunt Em (played by Sue Jorgensen), and everyone’s favorite character Dorothy (played by Kendal Ward) took the stage I was taken back to Kansas.
As the cast continued to take the stage it was evident Director, Steve Kinney, had picked the perfect cast and Music Director, Barb Lang, had put the right combination together for an amazing show. Stage Manager, Karen Szymanowski, made sure the set changes between scenes went off flawlessly and smoothly, making the audience feel comfortable and excited to continue the journey for Dorothy to find her way back home.
The audience was soon whisked away from Kansas to the Land of Oz. When the munchkins arrived I was not sure what to expect. I did know from past ACT productions the directors have always done a fabulous job of getting the kids to have the highest quality of singing, dancing and acting. It was immediately clear Director Kinney had done an exceptional job in getting these kids ready for the lights to go down and the curtain to go up.
I was tapping my foot and singing along (in my head) as the Munchkins celebrated the death of the wicked witch and welcomed Dorothy to Munchkin Land. I fell in love with the sweet, good witch Glinda, also played by Sue Jorgensen, all over again and she truly brought Glinda and Aunt Em to life.
Along the yellow brick road Dorothy met the scarecrow (played by Luke Zacharias) and the Tin Man (played by Patrick Carew) and of course, the Cowardly Lion (played by Jason Howland). Howland brought the shaky, terrified voice of the cowardly lion to life. He had the audience sympathizing and laughing throughout the whole play.
You simply cannot have an Oz play without the scary, creepy monkeys and the monkeys in this production gave me the same creepy feeling I would have had watching the movie on my TV at home.
Did Dorothy reach Kansas? Did the Wizard of Oz (played by Brian Mattson) award the Scarecrow his brains, the Tin Man his heart or the Cowardly Lion his courage? Did Toto go back to Kansas with Dorothy?
These questions and more can be answered at the Marion Ross Theatre right here in Albert Lea. The Wizard of Oz runs July 14, 15, 16, 17 (M), 20, 21, 22, & 23. Click here to purchase tickets or to check for box office hours and information to purchase tickets on site.
I am thankful the ACT theatre continues to bring quality and entertaining productions to Albert Lea. Through the ACT productions we are able to expose our kids to and inspire and teach them one more way to enjoy the world around them.
Purchase your tickets today and join ACT to set off on an adventure to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz!