PELHAM — The Wicked Witch of the West melted. Dorothy found her way back to Kansas. And everyone followed the yellow brick road.
The Pelham Community Theatre delivered a wonderful remake of the Wizard of Oz at the Crossroads Baptist Church on Aug. 10, 11 and 12. While the plot was familiar to all who came to the shows, the energy and glee the young actors invested into their performances made the old story seem fresh again.
Michaela Chadwell, who played the part of Dorothy, gave a convincing performance. Her lilting voice was strong throughout, and she looked the part with a costume almost identical to the one used in the 1939 film.
In fact, all of the costumes — which were designed by the play’s director, Janet Daigle — looked fantastic. So did the sets. The altar of the church was transformed into a rainbow of flowers, tropical trees and brightly colored munchkin houses.
To further create a vivid atmosphere, a movie screen hung from the back wall which projected scenes from the film. A shot of a sepia-toned farm opened the play when Dorothy sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on her Kansas farm. When the tornado hit, a 1-second clip of the viscous twister from the film was looped over and over again.
The play’s cast consisted of a nice mix of teenage actors in the lead roles, and little kids, who played the munchkins and a host of other supporting parts. Joe Cabral (The Wizard of Oz), Daniel MacDonald (Tin Man), Alanna Beauregard (Cowardly Lion), Robert Sherman (Scarecrow), and Brandee Peglow (Glinda) were all excellent in their respective roles.
The part that allows for the most expression, of course, is the Wicked Witch of the West, and Michelle Burke did not disappoint. She shrieked and cackled to the audience’s delight from her first appearance on stage in Munchkinland to her damp demise in her feudal castle.
This was the Pelham Community Theatre’s first musical production. To the credit of Daigle and musical director Julie Gordon, the play moved along at a steady pace, the actors delivered their lines in crystal-clear voices, and the songs were tuneful and well-sung. The bar has been set high, and there are a lot of people excitedly waiting to see what this hard-working, little theatre group turns out next.
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