Yellow Brick Road comes to life in Sol Theatre’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ production in Carbondale
IF YOU GO…
What: Sol Theatre Company presents “The Wizard of Oz”
When: 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Colorado Rocky Mountain School Barn, 500 Holden Way, Carbondale
Cost: $15 for students (12 and under), $20 for adults
“Everything about theater is like ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” says Jennifer Johnson, executive director for Sol Theatre Company in Carbondale.
“For us, being on stage is home, and there is no place like home,” she said of this weekend’s production of the timeless classic in Sol Theatre’s first major collaboration with Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
With the help of five crew members and a cast of about 38 students ranging in age from 7-17, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ will take the stage at the iconic Barn on the CRMS campus for three shows, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“The space is amazing. It’s been a lot of fun to be in a traditional stage setting,” Johnson said about performing in the Barn with a big production.
Special musical guest is Let Them Roar, a local band that will play all of the songs for the 1 hour, 45-minute show.
Johnson, who is directing the production, said it had has been challenging with such a large cast. But they have been hard at work rehearsing for the big opening tonight.
“They’ve just been working their tails off and being good examples for each other,” Johnson said.
The older students have been modeling for the younger students, helping them learn their lines and blocking. It’s been a really fun experience.”
A unique part of the show will be the role of the Yellow Brick Road, which is played by live actors.
“We have four dancers who play the Yellow Brick Road. They transition between Dorothy, Toto, the Lion, the Tin Man and Scarecrow from scene to scene,” Johnson said.
“I’m a bit of a set minimalist, a lot of our sets are actually projected onto a back screen, including images from the movie,” she said. “They get up and do a dance, and when it says follow the yellow brick road, they are literally following four people dancing around the stage.”
After a parent preview and student show on Wednesday in front of 150 family members, friends and fellow students, Johnson says they are ready.
“They are doing a great job, and I am so proud of them. It’s a huge show, a big undertaking, and they are handling it so gracefully,” she said.
“For me, once the parents have seen the show, I have done my job,” Johnson added.
“It’s about the experience of leading up to the show for us. The show is secondary,” she said. “It’s about how good of a time they have, what did they learn from each other, and how positive was the experience. If the show is good on top of that, it’s fantastic.”
Curtains will go up at 7 p.m. Friday, with an encore evening show at 7 p.m. Saturday and a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $15 for students (12 and younger), $20 for adults, and are available at soltheatrecompany.org.
Johnson said “The Wizard of Oz” theme is strong in the Roaring Fork Valley this year, which happens to be the 80th anniversary of the movie.
Carbondale Arts’ annual Green is the New Black fashion show theme this year is “Oz,” and later this summer Theatre Aspen School is doing “The Wizard of Oz” as well.
“It very rarely happens that we all choose the same thing, but there is just something in the air about it with the anniversary this year,” Johnson said.
Johnson said it is fitting because the valley is such a wonderland anyway.
“That’s the reason it’s such a great pick for the students. It takes brains, it takes heart, and it takes courage,” Johnson said.