Starting next week, Prairie Fire Productions and the Lewis & Clark Theatre Co. (LCTC) will bring the timeless and beloved screen classic “The Wizard of Oz” to life on stage at Yankton’s Dakota Theatre.
This version is based on that 1987 production of the “The Wizard of Oz” by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
“It’s exactly like the movie,” director Keith Goeden said, “which is awesome, because you get all the songs, which is especially nice. The songs are brilliant. Then you’ll get a stage direction like, “flying cow.” Now how am I supposed to do that? It’s a challenge.”
The leads include Taylor Wesseln as Dorothy; Jase Likness as the Scarecrow; Logan Haak as the Cowardly Lion and Gage Blaschke as the Tin Man.
“Taylor Wesseln will be a sophomore next year at St. Olaf’s in Northfield, Minnesota,” said Goeden. “Jase Likness has been out (of school) for a while and Logan Haak is a student at South Dakota State University.”
After writing “The Wizard of Oz,” author L. Frank Baum staged various versions of the story for the stage, so there were different stage versions being performed when the movie came out, though most of us think of the movie version as definitive, he said.
“It was only fairly recently that the Royal Shakespeare Company out of London, England, commissioned a stage version based on the movie,” he said. ”It’s the same songs, same script.”
Actually, this version is not quite exactly like the movie.
“There is a jitterbug scene in the play, and there was in the movie, too, but they cut it out of the movie,” Goeden said. “It’s a really nice, fun dance number.”
Due to the unique setting, almost every costume has been handmade by or under the supervision of assistant director and costumer Stacie Peitz, and every set has been built especially for the production, Goeden said.
“It’s a monster of a show,” he noted.
Goeden is not only in charge of sets, lighting and directing, but he is also playing Oz, the Great and Powerful.
The cast of about 60 actors is composed of mostly young adults and children, he said.
“There are 30 kids that are under the age of 13 and then the next 30, most of them are 18— to 22-year-old college kids, but we’ve got a few like me, who is an old dog,” Goeden said. “Almost all the older folks I have worked with. Most of the younger kids are brand new.”
The Dakota Theatre still has an orchestra pit, of which the production is taking full advantage for this musical with live accompaniment by 10 musicians.
“Musical director Angela Larson, the Yankton High School (YHS) chorus teacher, has put together an amazing orchestra,” Goeden said. “They are all either students or recent students. There is also Todd Carr, the YHS band instructor. They are pretty high powered as far as who we’ve got going on.”
The performance will also feature some special effects, including smoke, bubbles, flames and strobes and, of course, flying monkeys, he said.
“We do try to emphasize the magical aspects, whether it’s through costume, acting, special effects, the whole thing,” Goeden said, “I think the show is funny, exciting and we put our own unique spin on it. So even if you are used to the movie, it’s still going be a special night and a great bit of summer entertainment.”
Evening performances will be held July 18-20 and 25-27 at 7 p.m. There are two matinees scheduled on July 21 and July 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.lewisandclarktheatre.org or on the LCTC Facebook page. For more information, call the Dakota Theatre at 605-665-4711 and leave a message.
Dorothy Gale — Taylor Wesseln
Scarecrow/Hunk — Jase Likness
Tinman/Hickory — Gage Blaschke
Lion/Zeke — Logan Haak
Wicked Witch/Almira Gulch — Elita Eastman
Glinda — Kyra Liebig
Aunt Em — Sue Fields
Uncle Henry — Randy Fields
Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel — Keith Goeden
Emerald City Guard — Jordan Kuipers
Crows — Ted Anders, Joshua Carr, Cody Crisman, Nicholas Harris, and Walker Hunhoff
Apple Trees — Alanna Binder, Tori Cass, Jackie Holman, Jasmine Jensen, Claire Kouri, and Maddie Smith
Mayor — Sky Nockels
Coroner — James Stibral
Barrister — Conner Brunick
Lollipop Guild — Joshua Horn, Will Noehren, Anthony Reyes, and Francisco Reyes
Lullaby League — Eva Paulson, Kaitlin Paulson, Eva Reyes, and Julia Reyes
Munchkins — Kamry Anderson, Morgan Bennett, Brittney Dehler, Karmen Baya Emery-Gallardo, Raileen Felton, Isabel Kotalik, Klaire Larson, Noelle Nockels, Jasmin Peitz, Madison Reisner, Emma Rettig, Keira Rettig, Isabella Simonsen, Trinity Sommer, and Melecia Whisler
Citizens of Oz
Beauticians/Manicurists — Alanna Binder, Tori Cass, Jasmine Jensen, Lily Lawrence, Zoie Lee Marcotte, and Elizabeth Stibral
Polishers — Joshua Carr, Michael Haas, and Nicholas Harris
Ozians — Ted Anders, Cody Crisman, Michelle Gurney, Jackie Holman, Claire Kouri, Jacksen Lawrence, Sky Nockels, Eva Paulson, Kaitlin Paulson, Madison Reisner, James Stibral, and Melecia Whisler
Poppies — Kamry Anderson, Morgan Bennett, Karmen Baya Emery-Gallardo, Isabel Kotalik, Zoie Lee Marcotte, Noelle Nockels, Eva Paulson, Madison Reisner, Eva Reyes, Isabella Simonsen, and Maddie Smith
Jitterbugs — Zoie Lee Marcotte (Lead Jitterbug), Kamry Anderson, Isabel Kotalik, Noelle Nockels, Eva Paulson, Kaitlin Paulson, Jasmin Peitz, and Madison Reisner
Winkies — James Stibral (Winkie General), Ted Anders, Joshua Carr, Cody Crisman, Michael Haas, Nicholas Harris, Walker Hunhoff, and Sky Nockels
Monkeys — Joshua Horn (Nikko — Monkey Commander), Morgan Bennett, Conner Brunick, Raileen Felton, Klaire Larson, Will Noehren, Emma Rettig, Kyra Rettig, Francisco Reyes, and Julia Reyes
Bobbi Jo Carr
Director — Keith Goeden
Musical Director — Angela Larson
Costumer/Assistant Director — Stacie Peitz
Assistant Costumer — Carol Peitz
State Farm/Rhonda Wesseln
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