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News : Entertainment Mar 31, 2014 - 8:05:29 AM

75th Anniversary of MGM OZ film celebrated with live stage production at Curtain Call

By Curtain Call

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Grace Cashman plays Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz playing in Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, Stamford, April 4 through May 3. (contributed photo)
Though she may have pinstripes in her blood, Darien teen Grace Cashman will be focusing on the stripes of the rainbow as she takes on the iconic role of Dorothy in Curtain Call's upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz, playing in The Kweskin Theatre, Stamford, April 4 through May3.

No stranger to Curtain Call audiences, Cashman was recently seen as the ghostly apparition, Fruma Sarah, in Fiddler on the Roof but has also been seen in The Goodbye Girl, Annie and Annie Warbucks, the latter two in the title roles. "It has been great watching Grace grow as a performer over the past four years," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call's executive director and producer for this production. "She is such a gem to work with and I am thrilled that she is getting to go over the rainbow to Oz," he added.

Curtain Call’s production of this musical masterpiece is directed by Stamford resident Kari Ann Sweeney with music direction by Daniel M. Gibson (NYC) and features the choreography of Julia Maggiola of Norwalk. Set design is by Peter Barbieri, Jr (Fairfield) who is also Curtain Call’s Associate Artistic Director and costumes are by Deborah Runnestad (Norwalk). This full-scale production is presented by Northwestern Mutual with additional support from The CT Office of the Arts, in cooperation with The City of Stamford.

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 book, The Wizard of Oz, while this stage adaptation was done by John Kane for The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987.

Seen here on the set of The Wizard of Oz playing in Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, Stamford, April 4 through May 3 are, from left to right, Jeff Bianco, Kevin Thompson, Grace Cashman and Rob Nichols. (contributed photo)
Community theatre brings people together from all walks of life, but can keep families together too! And while there may be “no place like home”, a community theatre can easily become a second home and family for many. In Curtain Call’s latest production of The Wizard of Oz many families have found a way to share their love of theatre. Two sibling pairs - Rachel and Sarah Kadlick and Eli and Emmy Brennan share the stage with father and daughter, Kevin Thompson and Mia Secko. Director Sweeney's fiancé, Joe Efferen is on the set-building team as is Ursone's nephew, Marc Ursone. And many parents have shared in the experience by helping with set / prop /costume construction.

“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 five 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. (Thompson proposed to his fiancé (choreographer Maggiola) last July on the stage of Curtain Call's Shakespeare on the Green program, where they had met several years earlier.)

Joining Cashman in her adventures over the rainbow are, from: STAMFORD – Eli Brennan, Emmy Brennan, Joe Caputo, Kristina Delelle, Grace DeLoe, Tommy DeSalvo, Lola Duhov, Sabina Farley, Natasha Fenster, Scott A. Ferrara, Brendan George, Beth Jackson, Michael Kraus, Alyssa Morrin, Rob Nichols, Nina Paolini-Rota, Kathryn Priscott, Caitlin Reynolds, Elizabeth Riordan, Lila Robotti, Zoe Smith, Nicole Tehrani; Emma Valerio, NORWALK – Sean Tyler Allen, Jeff Bianco, Jacquie Carlsen, Rachel Kadlick, Sarah Kadlick; Mia Secko, Kevin Thompson; DARIEN - Cashman, Colleen Cassidy, Katie Huffert, Lindsay Martin, Kristina Mitchell, Evelyn Sload; FAIRFIELD – Jim Hisey; SOUTHPORT– Steve Benko; GREENWICH/OLD GREENWICH – Jack Smalls/Lauren Mickley, STRATFORD – Nora Watson; TRUMBULL - Kaylin Weller; WESTPORT - Daniela Sawyer; POUND RIDGE, NY - Daniel Charles Feldman; SOUTH SALEM, NY - Madeline Galgano.

“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 6, 12, 13, 19, 26, 27, and May 3. There are also two Thursday evenings (7:30pm) April 24 and May 1. Tickets are available through the box office at 203-461-6358 x34 or online at Prices for all performances are $29 for adults, $22 for senior citizens and $14.50 for students and children. Group rates are also available upon request.

The final show of Curtain Call’s 2013-14 season will be the Broadway classic, Gypsy, playing June 6 – 28. Details on all productions are available online at Discounted subscription passes offer great flexibility and savings up to 25% off regular prices and are on sale all year.
Curtain Call, Inc., is the nonprofit theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. Curtain Call was voted Fairfield County's BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005 through 2013 in the Annual Readers' Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly, BEST LIVE THEATRE by the readers of StamfordPlus magazine for 2008 through 2014 and BEST VENUE in Stamford Magazine. Curtain Call received The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2011.

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