If you go
What: "The Wizard of Oz"
Where: The Fulton Theatre, 12 N. Prince St., Lancaster
When: Now through July 19
Show times: Shows run Tuesday through Sunday, with 7:30 p.m. performances Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. performance Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. matinee performances on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: Ticket prices range from $25 to $68 and up. Group, youth and senior discounts are available.
Tickets: Online at TheFulton.org or by phone at 717-397-7425
People often ask director Marc Robin why they would want to see "The Wizard of Oz," at Lancaster's Fulton Theatre, since they've already seen it many times.
The answer, he said, is because this show — the biggest the theater has ever done — is done in a way nobody has ever seen. To say he's excited about it, he added, "would be a gross understatement."
Jason Simon, who plays the cowardly lion, said of the seven productions of the show he's been in — from a national touring production to New York's Madison Square Garden — this is "easily the biggest."
That's because it's a bit of a passion project for Robin, who said his theater career started when he first played the role of Toto the dog as a 4-year-old.
This production takes inspiration from both the movie and the book to make a magical dreamland with 20-foot puppets as gatekeepers, fire throwers, projections on every surface and even acrobats from New York's 2 Ring Circus company to fly through the air.
Timothy Hughes, who plays the scarecrow, said that even at 6-foot 6-inches tall he's not afraid of being hit by the flying acrobats, because he's worked with them before on a stage a quarter the size of the Fulton's and it was a great experience.
Liz Shivener, who plays Dorothy, said the fantastic elements in the Fulton show help her maintain her character's sense of wonder in the land of Oz.
Something she was particularly impressed with was "somehow" translating the muted, sepia-toned colors of the filmic Kansas to the stage through lighting and wardrobe differences.
Even her little dog, Toto, too, is a spectacle. Nigel — and Snickers, the understudy — played Toto first on Broadway stages and was trained by William Berloni, a renowned animal trainer.
But at the heart of it all is the story itself and the characters who tell it.
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"We've built a very strong chemistry, the four of us, in the short amount of time we've been working," said Will Ray, who plays the Tin Man. "And that's the heart of the show and that's what the Tin Man needs — a heart."
Shivener said the story itself is an important one to tell. The story, she said, is "finding your dreams at home because home is a beautiful place."
While Oz has adventure, she added, Dorothy finds out "there is a wealth of experiences right outside the door."
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