It seems appropriate that the 100th show put on by the San Carlos Children's Theater (SCCT) is one of the most beloved and recognizable productions of all time, and one that has plenty of room for a big cast and crew. SCCT's production of the Wizard of Oz opens May 10 at Mustang Theater in Central Middle School.
Theater manager Donna Avanzino explained that every two years, SCCT puts on a community theater production, one that features the talents of both adults and kids.
"It gives parents an opportunity to be in the show with their kids," said Avanzino, whose own daughter, Jessica is the show's assistant director.
In fact, the Cowardly Lion is none other than San Carlos School District board member, Seth Rosenblatt. Rosenblatt explained that his kids used to perform with SCCT, but now it’s his turn.
“I had to audition—it was dancing, spoken AND singing,” said Rosenblatt, who affably, still seems surprised he got the role.
But it’s members of the community like Rosenblatt and Avanzino who make the productions tick and have gotten the theater to its 100th show says SCCT director Eron Block.
“We are very honored to get to 100 shows,” said Block.
“It’s a testament to the community. The parent volunteers are the creative force behind what we do.”
Block’s wife Dana SCCT’s choreographer and appears to have the patience of the Good Witch, working with a variety of kids and adults.
Block explained the choice of the Wizard of Oz was as symbolic a choice as a creative one.
“The Wizard of Oz is an iconic show that everyone loves,” said Block.
“And the new partnership with the school district, allowing us to call Mustang Theater home fits nicely with the show’s theme, “there’s no place like home.”
Block was referring to the theater at Central Middle School that is now SCCT’s permanent home.
As a community theater production, audience members will notice a lot of familiar faces in the crowd—both young and old. Whereas the SCCT is normally just that---children’s theater—every two years, the parents have an opportunity to slip into costume and makeup and get on the stage with the kids.
Of course, every stage production relies as much on the crew behind the stage as the one on it, and there’s no shortage of talented volunteers doing everything from building sets to applying green witch makeup.
For Sherri Glenn, who is both a SCCT board member and house manager for “Wizard,” the production is a family affair—both her children and her husband are in the show.
“I’ve started putting my volunteer hours into thins I really believe in,” said Glenn during a recent rehearsal.
Rosenblatt explained that to allow more community members to take part in the production, two casts are selected so each role is doubled. There are 53 cast members and ensemble roles total.
“We have the ‘Ruby’ and the ‘Emerald’ casts. This way you have built in understudies plus more people can participate,” said Rosenblatt who splits roles between the Cowardly Lion and a flying monkey.
In a basement room beneath the main stage, another team of volunteers is busy assembling costumes and applying makeup.
Patty Steadman is the makeup chair and was busy perfecting the green face paint and prosthetic nose upon the face of Wicked Witch of the West, Kelly Rubingh.
Upon finally getting the nose to stick and just the right amount of wicked applied, Steadman observed her work with a wry smile.
“I now have a guaranteed place in heaven,” she said.
Wizard of Oz
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00 PM
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 PM
Mustang Hall, Central Middle School
828 Chestnut Street, San Carlos
$12 students 18 and under, $15 adults. To purchase, click here.
For more information, go to www.scctkids.com.