By Emily Sorensen
Get out your ruby slippers and tap your heels three times, because “The Wizard of Oz” is opening Wednesday, July 24 at Moonlight Amphitheatre, part of Moonlight Stage’s 33rd Summer Season.
“There are several [stage] versions of “The Wizard of Oz” out there, but ours really supports the heart and glory of the film,” said director Roger Castellano.
“The Wizard of Oz” is the second in Moonlight Stage’s 33rd summer season, and will run through Saturday, Aug. 10, with “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein” opening Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Moonlight’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” includes all the songs from the classic 1939 MGM film starring Judy Garland, with some new lyrics and music included. “We’re embracing the film,” said Castellano. “You can’t go wrong [with the film. It brings you back to childhood.”
The film will be brought to life through elaborate staging and props. “The staging is quite detailed and tricky,” said Castellano, who said he was taking advantage of the “great technical abilities” of Moonlight’s stage to put on “The Wizard of Oz,” which includes moving set pieces to convey Dorothy and her companions’ journey through Oz.
The costumes will also be elaborate, as they were designed for the Broadway touring edition of the show. “The costumes are absolutely stunning,” said Castellano. “[Moonlight’s] costume crew has taken apart the costumes to add extra sparkle.”
The cast features Carlin Castellano as Dorothy Gale, Randall Dodge as the Cowardly Lion/Zeke, Stephen Petrovich as the Scarecrow/Hunk, Carson Twitchell as Tin Man/Hickory, Danette Holland as Miss Gultch/Wicked Witch, Laura Douciere as Auntie Em/Glinda, Jim Chovick as Professor Marvel/Wizard and Ralph Johnson as Uncle Henry/Winkie Captain.
Also in the cast are 21 “little Munchkins.” “Wonderfully talented children from Vista” will be portraying the Munchkins from Munchkin Land, said Castellano. “They’re imaginative and focused.”
Moonlight’s “The Wizard of Oz” will also feature a live Toto. A talented pooch has been found up for adoption, and will be portraying Dorothy’s beloved canine companion on stage.
The dog is currently living with a trainer and will be adopted out to a permanent family after the show’s run.
“The heart and excitement of the movie will be present,” said Castellano. The show will be family friendly. “[‘The Wizard of Oz’] is the perfect family outing at the Moonlight Amphitheatre.”
“The Wizard of Oz” is playing 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for dining and picnicking. Tickets range from $15 - $50.
Family Nights at the Moonlight are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights, with lawn tickets for kids 15 and under $10 when accompanied by two adults. Family Night tickets are available on night of show at the Amphitheatre box office.
Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. For information and tickets, call 760-724-2110 or visit www.moonlightstage.com.