Wizard of Oz returns to Kweskin stage

For nearly 85 years, young and old alike have been thrilled by Dorothy’s journey to Oz in the MGM musical, “The WIzard of Oz.” Now, that same story, and all the famous film songs, will be in a live theatrical production playing in the Kweskin Theatre, Stamford, March 31 through April 22.

Featured in the iconic role of Dorothy are two young women who have previously traveled to Oz as Munchkins at Curtain Call: Alexandra Cahr and Maddy Galgano. Both actors have appeared in numerous productions at the Stamford theatre, including having played the title role in Annie there. “It has been great watching Alex and Maddy grow as performers over the past several years,” said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call’s executive director and producer for this production. “They are both so great to work with and incredibly talented so I am thrilled that they have the opportunity to share this iconic role,” Ursone added. (As has been the case all season, due to covid concerns, Curtain Call has been double-casting roles which is why there are two Dorothys.)

The stage production is very faithful to the movie according to Ursone. The dialogue and music were taken directly from the film with a notable exception of the inclusion of “The Jitterbug” number which was cut from the film. “Many people have now become familiar with The Jitterbug,” Ursone said “because it shows up with other special features on dvd releases of the film.” Another musical number which was cut from the film and then later restored, is a little number called “Over The Rainbow”. The film was based on the L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wizard of Oz – this stage adaptation was done by John Kane for The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987.

Curtain Call’s production of this musical masterpiece is directed by Jeffrey Bianco with music direction by Matt Stolfi and features the choreography of Kelly Nayden. Set design is by Peter Barbieri, Jr., who is also Curtain Call’s Associate Artistic Director. Lighting design is by Peter Petrino and costume coordinator is Kathryn Duffner. This full-scale production is produced with support from The CT Office of the Arts, in cooperation with The City of Stamford, and through special arrangement with Concord Theatricals, NY, NY.

With a sentimental theme like “there’s no place like home,” it’s somewhat fitting that many actors consider Curtain Call home. Community theatre brings people together from all walks of life, but can keep families together too! In Curtain Call’s latest production of The Wizard of Oz many families have found a way to share their love of theatre. “We’ve always had great family involvement, and that’s part of what makes what we do so much fun,” said Ursone, whose wife Jan serves as the production stage manager for this show.

“We’ve had lots of husbands and wives playing opposite each other, boyfriends and girlfriends and have even had entire families on stage,” he added. Considering the time commitment to participate in a show like this – eight weeks of rehearsals and four weekends of performances – working together on a show is one way of seeing each other. Significant others are also often drawn in to help, and many a romance has blossomed. Husbands and wives sharing the stage in this production include Joe and Jenna Colavito as the Tin Man and Glinda the Good Witch; Dom and Ruth Lettera as Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. Parents Kyle and Deborah Runestad (The Great Oz and The Wicked Witch) share the stage with their children, Gwendolyn and Zachary. Two sibling pairs – Mason and Mila DiMondo and Agnes and Helena Zionic, and one pair of cousins, Declan and Olive Heide – are sharing the on-stage experience together, while siblings Eric and Kelly Nayden are working together on and off stage: Eric as the Tin Man and Kelly as choreographer! Many parents have been helping with set, prop and costume construction, too.

Joining those previously mentioned in their adventures over the rainbow are, Sarah Barry, Elizabeth Buonicore, Addison Clear, Jesus De la Rosa Reyes, Cheryl D’Onofrio, Justin McArthur, Kaitlyn Miranda, Renata Montalto, Karen Morello, Izabella Nastasi, Josh Elliott Pickel, Lilian Del Portillo, Gigi Rapp, William Russell, Brooke Smith, Kevin Thompson, Samantha Van Nostrand, Mia Courant, Matthew Delmazzio, Rose Forman, Fiona Handley, Wells Hartley, Maren Hexter, Elizabeth Lear, Zelda Rabinalek, Milania Ruggieri, Kira Sharma, Sarah Strom and Rachel Surette.

“The Wizard of Oz is a great show for the entire family to enjoy together,“ Ursone said. “It’s also a great way to introduce younger audiences to live theatre. Helping nurture an appreciation of the arts and building future audiences is one of our responsibilities,” he added. Families can cheer the heroes and boo the villains as this timeless tale of good vs. evil unfolds. Audiences will also have a chance to meet the characters after each performance. (Yes, the Wicked Witch of the West and her minions could be a bit scary for some.)

Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm will be offered on April 2, 8, 15, 16 and 22. There is also one Thursday evening performance (7:30pm) April 20. Tickets are available through the box office at 203-461-6358 or online at www.curtaincallinc.com. Prices for all performances are $38 for adults, $28 for senior citizens and $20 for children under 21. Group rates are also available upon request. The Kweskin Theatre is located at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. Doors open one half hour before show time.

The final show of Curtain Call’s 2022-23 season will be Stephen Sondheim’s historical masterpiece, Assassins, playing in the Kweskin Theatre June 2 through 17. Details on all productions are available online at www.curtaincallinc.com.

Curtain Call was voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP ten years running in the Annual Readers’ Poll of the Fairfield County Weekly and has received similar “BEST OF” awards from Stamford Magazine and StamfordPlus magazine for 2008 through 2018. Curtain Call received The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2011 and the ACE Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture from the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County in 2016.

Share This Post