The Knowlton Players are staging The Wizard of Oz for the very best of reasons. They want to make everyone happy. After two years of COVID, with its attendant lockdowns, cancellations and bone-deep stress, there is an urgent need to return to something that feels remotely normal.
“The kids are desperate to get out,” says Oz director Jessica Brown. “So many things haven’t happened. Trips have been cancelled; events postponed. There are still so many ifs. It has been tough on everyone’s mental health. The kids are so on board with this.”
‘This’ is live rehearsals in Knowlton’s United Church basement of the classic 1939 Hollywood musical that propelled a young Judy Garland to stardom and set generations on their very own adventures on the Yellow Brick Road. The Players ambitious production is keeping the original words and music and offering a largely school-age cast and chorus to potentially full houses at Theatre Lac Brome May 5th to 8th.
“Rehearsals have been going really well,” says Brown. Initial COVID restrictions that demanded actors deliver lines via Zoom have been relaxed so all the actors can work in person together in what is an expensive undertaking. And with the return to live performances to full capacity crowds, the bottom line is actually in sight.
“Initially we had the actors divided into three different groups, with kids, teenagers, and adults working separately. But we have gradually been getting everyone together and it’s going great.” Now all the people working so hard on recreating a joyous experience are hoping that an audience will show up. After two years of hiding under the proverbial pandemic bed, will they open their doors, step into the sunshine, relearn how to order tickets and make plans to go to the theatre for an evening of classic escapism?
Brown and team are banking on it. The dates again, May 5 to 8, the venue is Theatre Lac Brome, tickets go on sale April 9th on brown paper tickets: thewizardofozknowlton.brownpapertickets.com or http://www.knowltonplayers.ca. or call 1-800-838-3006.
Price is $16 for kids 12 and under and $20 for adults Thursday, Friday, Saturday, May 5, 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8 at 2:30 p.m.
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