Two Takes On A Favorite Musical Classic


Wellesley Theatre Project (WTP) will present the musicals, The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition and The Wiz Thursday, May 8, Friday, May 9, Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11. All performances will take place at The Sorenson Center for the Arts, 231 Forest St., Babson College, Wellesley. Tickets are priced $12 for adults and $6 for students and seniors, and may be purchased online at www.wellesleytheatreproject.org in advance, or at the door for $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic book and the 1939 film of the same name, The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition features well loved songs “Over the Rainbow”, “If I Only Had A Brain” and “Merry Old Land Of Oz” with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. The story follows Dorothy Gale and her trip Over the Rainbow to another world where she meets her friends Scarecrow, Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto as they dodge the Wicked Witch and her army of Monkeys. The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition is presented by WTP’s Elementary Production Class and performances are May 8 at 5pm, May 9 at 5pm, May 10 at 2pm and May 11 at 2pm.

The Wiz is the 1974 contemporary musical version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The winner of seven Tony Awards, this classic story told with a twist sets Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls in a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel, and soul. The Wiz is presented by WTP’s 6th-12th grade Production Class and performances are May 8 at 8pm, May 9 at 8pm, May 10 at 7pm, and May 11 at 5pm.

WTP production classes began rehearsing in January, and the two casts feature 75 students between the ages of seven to sixteen. Cast members reside in Wellesley as well as neighboring communities including, Waban, Newton, Needham, Natick, and Waltham.

The production staff includes: Hillary Drew, Director of The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition; Hannah Shihdanian, Director of The Wiz and Choreographer of The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition and The Wiz; Tim Lawton, Musical Director; Peter Waldron, Set Designer; and Cameron McEachern, Costume Designer.

Both productions, generously supported in part by First Commons Bank, will be performed in repertory offering the chance to experience this classic story told in two completely different ways. Hillary Drew says “Choosing to do two shows with the same plot has allowed our students to explore different musical genres and think about a story they have always known in an entirely new way. Both casts are excited to see their friends perform and cheer on a different interpretation”.

Wellesley Theatre Project is an arts academy and a Wellesley nonprofit devoted to providing students (PreK – 12th Grade) with the opportunity to study and experience theatre and performing arts through year round classes, staged productions, workshops and summer camps.

Registration is open for WTP’s 2014 Summer Camps. Sessions include three production camps geared for students between 2nd and 12th grade in addition to one week morning Theatre Arts camps for Pre K-1st grade. The production camps are: Disney’s Jungle Book, Kids (Grades 2-8), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr. (Grades 2-12), and Pippin, the Musical (Grades 8-12).

For more information about The Wizard of Oz, The Young Performers’ Edition, The Wiz, or upcoming summer camps, visit the website, www.wellesleytheatreproject.org or call 781-235-1550.