Off to see the Wizard
Baldwin High School Theatre Guild visits Oz
There are three written works that are the most adapted in entertainment history. First is the Bible, second are the plays of William Shakespeare and third is L. Frank Baum’s tales of Oz.
A mere two years after “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” debuted, a musical stage version appeared on Broadway in 1902. An Oz theme park was scheduled to open in San Francisco at Christmas in 1906 but was never realized due to the earthquake that same year. Always a co-producer of all things Oz, Baum saw the first film released in 1910 but did not live to see the great success of the 1939 MGM film. Since 1900 there have been more adaptations of “Oz” than in the 117 years that have transpired.
It all began as improvised bedtime stories for Baum’s children. It was nearly 100 years after the first film adaptation that Andrew Lloyd Webber had the idea to team up with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and reunite with Tim Rice, to create the first stage version of the 1939 film.
Baldwin High School’s current production is based on the 1939 MGM film. It uses the music and lyrics originally created by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, with the new songs added that were created by Webber and Rice. Baldwin’s staging is being directed by Linda Carnevale, under the musical direction of Tana Larson, with choreography by Dejah Padon and orchestra direction by Stephen Rodrigues.
Carnevale calls it her “favorite movie,” and I asked why she chose “The Wizard of Oz” for her 2017 students.
“I’ve been waiting to do this show forever but wanted to wait until I could do it with the right mixture of students, set and script version,” said Carnevale. “There are many versions of this book, but I wanted to do the movie version. So this script is the truest to the 1939 movie with all the songs everyone is familiar with.”
I asked Carnevale, an avid Oz collector with more than 500 pieces of memorabilia, if she had any childhood memories of seeing the classic film. “Yes, I remember seeing it on the big screen when I was young and just being mesmerized. I loved the explosion of color from black and white once Dorothy and Toto landed in Munchkinland. The special effects were so real — the cyclone, the witch appearing, disappearing, melting, the threatening skywriting. They were done well before any computers were creating special effects. I just got all wrapped up in the entire show,” she shared.
Carnevale articulated the Baldwin philosophy of stage production, a practice that nearly all of its theater alumni still employ today in their adult careers.
“Each show is a marvel to achieve. The students are a part of the entire process, “ she explained. “It is our responsibility, as a teacher, mentor, adult, etc., to share our knowledge and experience with the students.
“By teaching the students how to build the set, put together and design their costumes, make the props, run the lights, sound and back stage, we are empowering them with knowledge they can take with them after high school. The students end up proud and invested that they had a voice, a part of the decision making.
“The Baldwin Theatre program was built from day one with the students being a part of the process. Ms. Sue Ann Loudon, the founder of the program and teacher for 40 years at Baldwin, started it all, and as one of her students I learned from her. In fact, many of the performers in community theater on Maui are ‘Baldwin kids.’ You can always tell who they are, nothing seems to rattle them — they can make it, fix it or change it without any problems. I have carried the philosophy on for the past 13 years. It’s far, far more than performing for Baldwin kids; it’s a life lesson and work ethic you carry on throughout your life.”
* Glinda the Goodwitch (Danyelle Contreras) and Dorothy (Erin Tsue) discuss how to get back to Kansas as Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and Baldwin Theatre Guild present “The Wizard of Oz.” Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays beginning tonight through April 16 in the auditorium at the Baldwin High School campus. There will be no performance on April 8; there will be an additional 2 p.m. performance on April 15. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $7 for students 12 to 17; and $5 for children 11 and younger, and are available at the box office 45 minutes before showtime.
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On Saturday night, Maui OnStage revealed the five productions scheduled for its 2017-18 season at Sneak Peek: Broadway on the Beach. In September, MOS will present “Harvey” by Mary Chase, the classic 1940s comedy about the frequently inebriated Elwood P. Dowd and his drinking partner, Harvey, a 6-foot-tall rabbit. For the holidays, MOS will present the Maui premiere of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” a stage musical based on the 1968 British musical adventure film. In March 2018, it will present John Kander and Fred Ebb’s sultry musical “Cabaret,” set in a Berlin cabaret club during the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Next year’s late-spring drama will be John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” The season will conclude with another Maui premiere, “Singin’ in the Rain,” in July of 2018. This recent stage version is based on the Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds film set in the 1920s at the advent of talkies and the death of the silent film era.
* For more information, call 242-8680 or visit www.mauionstage.com.
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The Maui Academy of Performing Arts also announced its upcoming summer musical last week, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” with music by Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast”), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”) and based on the Victor Hugo novel, to be directed by David C. Johnston.
* Performances will be weekends from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. Auditions will be announced later this month. For more information, call 244-8760 or visit www.mauiacademy.org.
ALSO THIS WEEK
Rick Scheideman continues his alternating one-man show series with “An Evening with Mark Twain” on Sunday.
* Performances are at 6:30 p.m. every Sunday through May 28 at Pioneer Inn courtyard in Lahaina. Courtyard dining is also available. Tickets range from $22 to $30 and may be reserved by calling (303) 507-0987 or purchased at the door.
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Maui OnStage continues its free theater series, ONO! on Monday with “ONO! Variety,” a traditional dance, music and comedy program featuring more than 40 of Maui’s most recognizable entertainers.
* The free ONO! performances are at 6:30 p.m. every second Monday of the month at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. For more information, call 242-8680 or visit mauionstage.com.
ProArts Inc. presents “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott (“Wait Until Dark”), directed by Francis Tau’a.
Tony Wendice (William Makozak) married his wife, Margot (Marsi Smith), for money and now plans the perfect murder by hiring another man to strangle her and then arranging a brilliant alibi in this suspenseful thriller.
* Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays from April 14 to 30 (no performance April 16) at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $26 and are available by phone at 463-6550 or online at www.proartsmaui.com.
Registration has begun for the Maui Academy of Performing Arts theater youth camp. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays from June 12 through July 20, culminating with eight performances of “Disney’s Mulan Jr” from July 21 to 30 at the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao.
* Tuition is $895 per child with partial needs-based scholarships and payment plans available. Parents can register their children online at www.mauiacademy.org.
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Maui OnStage will be holding auditions for “9 to 5: The Musical” from 6 to 9 p.m. May 2 at the Historic Iao Theater. All roles are open, with callbacks from 6 to 9:30 p.m. May 9.
The production will run four weekends from July 14 to Aug. 6. Actors should prepare a contemporary musical theater song and a one-minute comedic monologue. Actors must provide sheet music in their key or a karaoke track on CD or MP3. An accompanist
will be provided. Appointments will be in increments of 10 minutes and are required. “9 to 5” will be directed and choreographed by Kalani Whitford under the musical direction of Dick Vetterli.
* To reserve an appointment, call 244-8680 ext. 23, or for more information, visit www.mauionstage.com.
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Registration has begun for Theatre Theatre Maui’s west side theater youth camp. The camp will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays from June 12 through July 19, culminating with four performances of “Beauty and the Beast Jr” from July 20 to 23.
* Tuition ranges from $399 to $425 per child, with payment plans and financial aid available for qualifying families. Parents can register their children online at www.ttmwestmaui.org.