WENATCHEE — Community members — and their pets — got a small taste of this year’s Apple Blossom Musical on Saturday.
Cast members of "The Wizard of Oz" did a meet and greet photo opportunity in front of the Numerica Performing Arts Center. Participants were invited to bring their pets for their very own “Toto” moment.
“This is Henrietta, and she’s a Toto dog. She’s a cairn terrier, so she's the real thing,” Wenatchee resident Andrea Lodge said after her dog got a photo with the cast. “She’s 15 years old, so I just thought it would be a good memento — plus, I'm a Judy Garland fan.”
Lodge will definitely be attending one of the showings; in fact, she already has her tickets. The musical will have 7:30 p.m. showings on May 4-7 and 11-14. Matinees at 2 p.m. will take place May 8 and 14.
Although audiences are certainly familiar with the storyline, there will be some surprises and modern touches, according to Director Daina Toevs — an Apple Blossom Musical veteran with over half a dozen of the productions under her belt.
“We brought it kind of into the 20th Century,” Toevs said. “We do a lot of trying to make sure that everyone is included and that it's not just for one kind or another. It's an all inclusive thing.”
Some of those changes were using inclusive language like “leaders” instead of “the male leader.” The production also cuts some sections of music in order to have more time to tell the story. For example, a long intro at the beginning of “If i only Had a Brain” won’t make an appearance.
“It doesn't really do anything to enhance the song. I think when it was written back in the 30s and 40s, that was the style of that time,” Toevs said. “We just go directly into the song.”
The play will also feature a number of “flying” characters, pyrotechnics and detailed costumes.
The Lion costume, for example, includes two wigs, a face prosthetic, a multi-foot tail and a fur suit. The end result is magnificent but also a bit stuffy.
Lion actor Paul Atwood, who directed the last Apple Blossom Musical, said costume designers had to put a few pockets for ice packs into the costume to help cool him down. It’s not the first time Atwood has been a part of a "Wizard of Oz" production, but he said it’s different being the one on stage this time around.
“It keeps me on my toes and I like to practice what I preach. So I needed to get out there and do some things. I was getting bored,” Atwood said.
Piper Lodato, who plays Dorothy, has also been in another production of "The Wizard of Oz." This time around, she’s excited for the flying effects.
“We have a day where we just learn how to fly on stage,” Lodato said. “I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m super excited. They’re bringing in a whole flying crew.”
The costume for the Tin Man, played by Matthew Pippin, is a functional work of art — but Pippin said his favorite part is getting out of it at the end of a rehearsal.
“I can't sit down in it. Once I’m in it, I’m in it,” he said, adding that he has also enjoyed the opportunity to tap dance. “I was trained in that in New York at the acting school I went to, and this is the first time since I graduated that I actually get to do that.”
Toevs, the director, invited community members to come to the show.
“Anything can happen in 'Oz,'” she said. “It's just going to be spectacular. I think they're gonna be sad if they miss it.”
More information about the musical can be found at numericapac.org/wizard-of-oz.