Newark Amateur Operatic Society to stage The Wizard of Oz as 85th anniversary celebrations
For its 85th anniversary production, Newark Amateur Operatic Society is staging the classic The Wizard of Oz, which itself celebrated its 80th anniversary this year, and the production will be staged at the town’s Palace Theatre, in its centenary year.
The society will be performing the Royal Shakespeare Company version of the show, which follows the famous film closely.
It includes all the familiar songs, including Over The Rainbow, Munchkinland (Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead), If I Only Had A Brain, If I Only Had A Heart, If I Only Had The Nerve, We’re Off To See The Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road), The Merry Old Land of Oz, and If I Were King Of The Forest.
There is also a song called The Jitterbug, which was filmed but cut because the makers felt the film was too long.
Rehearsals are in full swing and the cast includes many familiar faces.
The iconic role of Dorothy, famously played by Judy Garland in the film, will be performed by Christina Riley, who played Demeter in the society’s production of Cats, supported by Pepe playing Toto.
Alongside her will be William Dewick as Scarecrow, in his fourth role with the society, most recently having played Will Parker in Oklahoma!
Justin Day plays Tinman, following numerous roles with the society including Fagin in Oliver! and Mungojerrie in Cats.
The Cowardly Lion will be played by Peter Merrick, another society, regular, having appeared as Mr Bumble in Oliver! and Jud in Oklahoma! last year.
Rachel Mowbray and Julia Raine will be playing the roles of the Wicked Witch Of The West and Glinda The Good Witch, respectively.
Andrew Fearn returns to the society stage to play The Wizard Of Oz.
New to the company this year, playing Uncle Henry, is the Vicar of Newark, David Pickersgill.
The production is being directed by the society’s vice chairman, Mike Follen.
He directed the society’s production of Oliver! in 2017, and most recently directed Ghost The Musical at the Robin Hood Theatre, Averham, which was named best musical in its category at last year’s NODAEast Midlands Awards.
Society chairman Rita Crowe said: “In our 85th year it’s fantastic to be able to continue our hugely- successful run of shows with another iconic production.
“To be part of the Palace Theatre’s 100th birthday celebrations is also really exciting, and with all the hard work of our talented creative team, all the cast, our crew and alongside the theatre’s team we look forward to presenting our production as a spectacular treat for all the family.”
Andrew Raine is once again the musical director and the team is completed by Dean Matthew-Skiba, who returns to choreograph the show following the huge success of his creative lead in Cats.
There is a full supporting company playing the Munch- kins, Ozians, and Flying Monkeys to name but a few, and with some surprises along the way.
The show runs from Wednesday, April 1, to Sunday, April 5.
The evening performances will be at 7.30pm and there will be matinees at 2.30pm on the Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are available now from the Palace Theatre box office on 01636 655755 oronlineby visiting www.palacenewark.com
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