By MIKE CHAIKEN
“The Wizard of Oz” has some of the most iconic characters in literature, theater, and film.
Of course, there is the heroine, Dorothy Gale, whose determination to seek out the great Wizard of Oz drives the story. But her companions—the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man— also are immediately recognizable, as is the Great Wizard of Oz himself.
And the Munchkins… who can forget the Munchkins?
“The Wizard of Oz” is a literary and pop culture classic.
And Connecticut Theatre Company is currently bringing “The Wizard of Oz” to the Repertory Theater in New Britain.
Addie Meny of West Hartford has the task of playing the role of Dorothy. “I like that she is one of the few [female] characters where the story doesn’t revolve around her love interests. Rather, it’s about her friends and going on a journey.”
“I think that she is very welcoming and kind. She really embodies something that a lot of girls try to be. Kind, brave, and just intelligent, and smart. She knows what she’s doing. Although she doesn’t know where she is, she knows what’s going on,” said Addie.
Bristol’s Jayson Beaulieu plays the Wizard (as well as the character in Kansas who becomes the Wizard after Dorothy’s journey over the rainbow, Professor Marvel.)
Jayson said he likes the Wizard because “he is trying to be somebody he’s not. He gets caught and he has to come out and think on his toes.”
“It’s pretty funny how he (improvises) all of these things… at the top of his head… to appease these characters who are asking for stuff,” said Jayson.
Asked what character in the tale she likes other than Dorothy, Addie said, “I have to go with the Wicked Witch. I like [the musical] ‘Wicked,’ and she’s ‘Elphaba’ [in ‘Wicked’ and I love that character and I love it. She’s just brilliant. She’s fantastic. She’s wonderful. She’s one of the most wonderful evil villains ever.”
Jayson said all of the performers in the Connecticut Theatre Company are great in how they portray the myriad of characters. But his favorite character in “The Wizard of Oz” is the Cowardly Lion. He said he is drawn to the character’s story of trying to find his courage.
Dylan Prince, a second grader at Ivy Drive Elementary School plays a Munchkin and he said his favorite character is Toto, Dorothy’s canine pal. “He’s cute and fuzzy and I like some dogs.”
Dylan said he also likes the Scarecrow. “He’s just funny when he falls. He’s just cool… he’s funny.”
As for what she liked about the CTC production of this classic tale, Addie said, “I really love the director, Kristy (Smith)… I think Kristy has taken a really cool approach [to ‘The Wizard of Oz.’]. She’s making a lot of cool decisions, with the set, with the costumes… She really helped me see the way the story is going. [Kristy spoke to me about] Dorothy’s thought process in where she goes in Oz. Where she starts [in her view of the world around her], and where she ends.”
The CTC production features a good deal of children in the cast, mostly in the roles of the Munchkins. And Addie likes having that energy on set.
“I love kids,” said Addie. “They’re so fun and especially talented. I love it. They bring a lot to the show.”
Connecticut Theatre Company continues its production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Repertory Theater, 23 Norden St., New Britain through Oct. 26. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20. For tickets, go to www.connecticuttheatrecompany.org/season/buy-tickets/#!/Wizard-of-Oz/c/8409407/offset=0&sort=normal
For more information, go to ConnecticutTheatreCompany.org