Yes, monkeys will fly in Columbia.
One of the most enduring and endearing classic stories will be told again beginning this month when Sierra Repertory Theatre presents “The Wizard of Oz.” The Sonora company will stage the musical at its Fallon House Theatre in Columbia from May 31 through July 21.
The story has gone through many incarnations: a fairy tale, a Broadway musical, one of the first technicolor MGM movie musicals.
The SRT incarnation comes with dancing munchkins and, yes, those flying monkeys, according to a press release.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was created by Frank L. Baum. A Broadway spectacular played to acclaim in 1902, the release said, and subsequent silent films came out over the years until MGM produced its lavish movie musical version starring Judy Garland, Roy Bolger, Bert Lehr and Margaret Hamilton. That film introduced iconic music numbers such as “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Over the Rainbow”.
The story tells of a young girl named Dorothy who lives on the Kansas prairie with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and dog, Toto. When a cyclone hits, Dorothy and Toto are transported to the magical land of Oz where she finds friends in a Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.
The theater book is by John Kane, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It has additional background music by Herbert Stothart. It is based on the Baum’s novel and the 1939 film version written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf.
The SRT production will be co-directed by Scott Viets and Jerry Lee.
“There are so many expectations with shows like Oz,” Viets said in the release. “It’s a delicate balance in deciding what we want to pay homage to and what we want to re-imagine for ourselves. We don’t want to re-create the movie onstage because … what would be the point of that? What we can do is find clever ways to make visual references to the iconic movie and explore the play honestly and sincerely so we don’t lose any of what makes Dorothy’s story so powerful.”
The show is perfect for families.
“It’s a story that is always important to tell,” Lee said in the release. “It’s about a disadvantaged little girl who is put into a position of power and leads with kindness, goodwill and faith in her friends. It’s a story that’s good for children to experience and it’s a good reminder for adults.”
The production will star SRT veterans Jan Leigh Herndon as Almira Gulch/The Wicked Witch, Emily Gatesman as Aunt Em/Glinda, Daniel J. Hines as Zeke/Cowardly Lion, Greg Parker as Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard and Pat Pinney as Professor Marvel/Wizard.
Making their Sierra Rep debuts will be Lauren Metzinger as Dorothy, Cameron Chang as Hunk/Scarecrow, Sam Bravo as Hickory/Tin Man, with Yuliya Eydelnant, Morgan Madrid, Jackie Thompson and Nicole Stouffer in the ensemble.
The production also will include students from SRT Jr. as munchkins, poppies and flying monkeys.
“The Wizard of Oz”
WHEN: 2 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays and Saturdays-Sundays; 7 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. May 31-July 21
WHERE: Fallon House Theatre, 11175 Washington St., Columbia