By Kaity Brown
Come to a place over the rainbow and see if the Great Wizard will grant you your greatest wish.
Kimberley Summer Theatre is bringing the most well-known musical film of all time to McKim Theatre for kids big and small.
“It’s about Dorothy Gale who lives in Kansas. She dreams of a world beyond what she knows and what she has grown up with – she dreams of being over the rainbow. She gets caught in a twister and it’s about her adventures through her meeting the tin man, the lion and the scarecrow and how she figures out herself through them,” said Fiona McIntyre, who will play Dorothy.
Director Truus Verkley talks about the excitement in bringing a classic to Kimberley.
“This is the first time I’ve directed a show that everybody knows, that’s iconic, and so it’s been interesting working with that and still trying to put my own creative spin on it,” Verkley said.
“But it has been a lot of fun because since everybody knows those characters. It is fun to work with those stereotypes and to try to get the actors to really embrace them.”
For Fiona McIntyre, who plays Dorothy, being a part of the production has been a life-long dream come true.
“The Wizard of Oz was the first show I ever saw, I saw it when I was maybe four years old, it’s been really cool to get to play Dorothy and to live out that dream that I had when I was four when I saw that girl on stage and thought ‘I want to do that’,” McIntyre said.
“Last summer I was a top 20 finalist for ‘Over the Rainbow’ with CBC so I got to go to Toronto and Barbados to audition for that. I sang Over the Rainbow about 150 times so it’s really nice to get to do it within a play.”
Now they are taking on a true classic, unlike the farces and musicals that the KST has done in the past.
“Everyone knows it and so we are trying to stick with the original,” said Director Verkley. “We’re staying pretty true but we have some added cool elements. There are a couple of elements that were cut from the movie that are still in the original play.”
The dynamics of the group, the actors and actresses, the stage-hands and the creative team are all working together to bring the whimsical production to life.
Together the group is working to re-kindle the passion for live-theatre after last summer when KST took a hiatus.
“On the first day of rehearsals I said this to the actors: my goal as a director is always to make the audience have a great time watching the show.”
“That’s one of the things that I really want to accomplish with the Wizard of Oz, because everyone knows the story and because everyone loves the story that they come away from the live production with even more joy in their hearts than they would from just watching the movie,” said Verkley.
“I think if we can make so that, even if kids don’t come away saying ‘I want to perform’, if they come away inspired to do something new or try a sport or join a club or something to step out of their comfort zone a little bit, that’s my goal,” said McIntyre.
But putting together the play won’t be a leisurely stroll down the yellow brick road. For one, Toto the dog is played by a real pup – Tippy.
“He is quite a friendly little guy, I have known him for a couple of summers now,” Verkley said.
Tippy has been spending a lot of time with Fiona McIntyre, to develop a relationship with her but he is just starting his career on stage having his first rehearsal on July 23 with the cast.
The production of the Wizard of Oz is for the whole family, showing from August 3 at 7:30, with a matinee on August 4 at 2 p.m. and then running from August 6 to August 14 nightly at 7:30 pm at McKim Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased at the Kimberley Summer Theatre box office in the Platzl in person or by calling 250-427-4080.
“It’s accessible for all ages and we’re really trying to invite little ones right to big ones – there is something for everybody in there and so we are hoping to get people of all ages to come to the show,” Verkley said.