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What's new in Oz? Capitol Hill Pride Festival features a fresh take on the Emerald City

Posted by Page2Stage Entertainment. on June 9, 2017 at 1:50 PM


by MK Scott Special to the SGN:

Oz Anew, a brand-new production of America's favorite classic story, is brought to you by award-winning N.Y.C. director and writer Michael Gershowitz and based on the original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the backstories of the characters that Dorothy and Toto are introduced to. Oz is not a happy fairy tale – politics and intrigue are rampant as power struggles between opposing forces divides the land and its people. It is here that a young orphan girl from Kansas first enters the story as a helpless traveler and later becomes Oz’s greatest heroine. Lifted from the pages of L. Frank Baum's Oz books, the history of the land and its strange inhabitants are presented by Page2Stage Entertainment. With a lush, exciting, and oft-times intoxicating score, this world premiere of Oz Anew should not be missed by any Oz fan or book reader. Come see a free preview this weekend at Capitol Hill Pride! Recently, I had a chance to chat with Gershowitz.

MK Scott: Michael, What's new on the Oz front?

Michael Gershowitz: What's new are a bunch of new shows, and events going on along with the reopening of a very old theme park in North Carolina called the Land of Oz. Right now in N.Y.C. there has been a show off-Broadway, The Woodsman [now closed], which is helping my company pave the way to bring the original story to life and to the people. Wicked brought back Oz interest, and The Woodsman will tell audiences that it’s OK to spend money on a musical or play that is based solely on the source material and that MGM is not the be-all or end-all of the Oz world. There are after all 14 Oz books written by Baum and it is a real-life place, not a dream of Dorothy's. Our new Oz musical operetta will show audiences that, and we hope people will go back to reading the book and the books in the series.

MK: So, this weekend at Capitol Hill Pride, we will see a shortened, highlighted version?

Gershowitz: Yes, we will show the people of Seattle what the show and music are like and what they feel like, and what the designs are like. We will be showing you from Dorothy's parents’ funeral all the way to the meeting of the Cowardly Lion.

MK: Tell us about your cast.

Gershowitz: Our cast consists of a small, talented bunch of actors and actresses and a very cute and clever terrier named Hildago. Our Dorothy Gale is played by Weijing Zhou, a student at the University of Washington studying theater and voice, who is a fresh face and talented singer for the part. Emily Robinson, a beautiful singer and great local actress, is playing Emily Blue and both the good witch of the North and the evil witch of the East. RY Glasscock is a local singer playing Henry Blue and Old Crow along with playing the Cowardly Lion, with Benjamin Cournoyer as the Munchkin mayor and Gale Lawyer, along with the “heartless” Nick Chopper (with Tyler Scowcroft as his human counterpart), and as the “brainless” Scarecrow we have Rico Lastrapes, fresh out of Florida and working for Disney parks and different theaters around the world – he will be a great actor and singer for N.Y. and N.Y.C. Rounding out the cast is Hildago, our cute Yorkie and Chihuahua mix for Toto. We also have Bruno Bito as part of the ensemble.

MK: I hear you are heading to New York in the fall?

Gershowitz: Yes, we have a booked run at the Cunneen-Hackett Theatre in my home town of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., bringing the show that I have been working on since I was in middle school. It will be great to bring a finished or semi-finished show to where it started as small scenes in school and in my backyard. I will be adding friends and extended family to the mix helping me with this wonderful show in Poughkeepsie from Sept. 31 to Oct. 2, and then we move into an Off Broadway house in Manhattan for October or November.

MK: How can our readers help?

Gershowitz: You r readers can help us get to N.Y. and Off Broadway by checking out the GoFundMe page and donate. Their donations will help us and also help a local charity in Seattle, Lambert House. We need to raise $60,000 to pull this off, and 10 percent of that money will help the LGBT youth house stay open where it is located. If you help us, you will receive gifts and be listed in all advertising and in all programs and playbills and such. We have a great team including Ron McCain, a Marvel and DC comic artist. Come and see the preview, and stop by the booth and get your Oz character signed by Ron himself. Oz Anew will play the mainstage (near QFC) at the Capitol Hill Pride Festival on Saturday, June 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. To keep track of Oz Anew, check out their website at http://wwozanewmusical.webs.com/.

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