Theatre Factory also taking a walk on the 'Oz' side
On a weekend that offers a prequel to the 1939 film classic on area movie screens and an orchestral arrangement and screening at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concerts, Theatre Factory joins “Munchkin mania” with the opening of its adaptation of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
Like the other cultural offerings, the Theatre Factory KidWorks production is based on the 1900 book by L. Frank Baum. But in this stage version, playwright V. Glasgow Koste tells the story from the viewpoint of the author (portrayed by Michael Byrne), who serves as the narrator.
“I think it's special because it's so theatrical,” says director David Little. “It doesn't rely on spectacle to tell its story. It allows the audience to fill in all of the specific details of the story with their imagination.”
Little returns to Theatre Factory to direct this production after having worked on shows in other states. He most recently directed “A Christmas Carol” in Fayetteville, N.C., at the Gilbert Theatre and the opera “La Boheme” in Twin Lake, Mich., for Blue Lake Opera. He previously served as artistic director at Theatre Factory and directed “Harvey” at the Trafford community theater in 2011.
He has a personal reason for wanting to direct this production.
“I have a special connection with ‘The Wizard of Oz,' since all of the original L. Frank Baum books were read out loud to me as a child by my mom,” he says. “This version is much closer to the original book than it is to the Judy Garland movie. But the basic story is still the same.”
All of the familiar “Oz” characters are in the cast. Among the actors that Little is directing is his sister, Alissa Little, who portrays the Witch of the North.
“This is actually the third time I have been in a show he has directed,” Alissa says. “I love being involved in his shows.”
Other families sharing credits in this production are Michael Byrne (narrator and Wizard of Oz) and his two sons, Michael Byrne V as the Tin Woodman and Stephen Byrne as one of the Winkies/Munchkins; John McCarthy as Uncle Henry/Guard and his daughter, Mary Cate McCarthy as Toto; and sisters Grace Bender as Dorothy and Amelia Bender as a Winkie.
The cast also features Carrie Lee Martz (Witch of the West), Dotty Weisberg (Aunt Em/Glinda), Victoria Perl (Scarecrow), Dominic Raymond (Cowardly Lion) and Jacob Capets, Carleigh Drakulic, Maura Marston, Natalie Norman, Mason Servello and Savannah Simeone as Winkies.
Although “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is part of Theatre Factory's children's schedule of shows, Alissa Little says grownups will enjoy it, too.
“It allows the audience to use their imagination in so many ways,” she says.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Mitchell to miss beginning of training camp
- Perry: Guardsmen needed at Mexican border to handle criminals
- Rossi: Roethlisberger staging big comeback
- Steelers won’t negotiate Roethlisberger extension until after season
- After year off, Steelers’ Pouncey ‘ready to go’
- Rockies’ 7-run 7th-inning dooms Pirates in 8-1 loss
- Megan’s Law offender in Greensburg arrested when girl, 13, found hiding in shower
- Young Hotel residents moved to temporary shelter in Pitcairn
- Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board suspends in-store tastings
- Tri-state Tea Party group aims to broaden its appeal to conservatives
- Roundup: Citizens bank parent says 6-month profit doubles; Former Heinz CEO leaving EDMC board; more