The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

The Show Goes On

 

August 5, 2020

Ben Hall works with other members of the cast during a read through early in the rehearsal process for the MAT Youth Production of The Wizard of Oz.

Opening on August 6 and sponsored by Western Drug Pharmacy, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a Montana Actors' Theater Youth Production, will take place on the west end of the Holiday Village Mall in the old North 40 location. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:00.

Chinook resident Ben Hall will not only serve as the production's narrator but will also act the part of Frank Baum as well as the Wizard. Baum "stage manages" his story to keep the action brisk from scene to scene. Before arriving in Oz, he was an actor, traveling salesman, vaudeville manager and newspaperman-an authentic American gypsy.

These additional characters will star in the show:

Frank Baum/Captive: Aden Shandorf

The Stagehand: Katelyn Maloughney

Dorothy: Kate Hemmer

Uncle Henry/Guardian: Dever Everingham

Aunt Em/Witch of the West: Elaine Atkinson

Toto: Koby Preputin

Glinda/Good Witch: Tyley Hemmer

Scarecrow: Jordan Rader

Tin Woodman: Tehya Vauthier

Cowardly Lion: Carsyn Vogel

Munchkins: Eric Messinger and William Ratliff

Winkies/Munchkin: Maddy Hagen, Marlee Thivierge, and Chloe Hodges

Backstage: Navelle Ramales, Izzy Hagen, Treasure Squires, and

Trinity Olsen

Treasure Squires is the granddaughter of local residents George and Wanda Chilton.

Faithful to the original book by L. Frank Baum, Virginia Koste's adaptation for the theater creates a fresh framework for Oz. When Dorothy is swept to Oz on a cyclone, she joins the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion as she searches for home and family.

The production, which will run August 6-8 and 13-15, celebrates various timeless themes: the importance of mind and heart; courage in facing what is feared; the need to dream, to dare, and to ride out storms; as well as the joys of loving, laughing, crying, and being lost and found.

Another local connection to the Montana Actors' Theater (MAT) can be found on the MAT Board. A 2001graduate of Chinook High School, Lindsey (Erskine) Kellam has served on the Board since 2007. She is employed by Scharfe, Kato & Company in Havre.

According to MAT Executive Director, Jay Pyette, "Lindsey's CPA skills are invaluable! Though she originally joined the Board on a temporary basis, she now realizes we aren't ever letting her go."

Given the July 15 health directive issued by Governor Steve Bullock, MAT has implemented policies that are intended to protect our community while still providing a quality show. For example, all staff and audience members over the age of five are required to wear masks while in the building, although actors will not be wearing them on stage.

Staff and actors will be screened each day for potential COVID symptoms. Furthermore, audience members are encouraged to self-check for COVID symptoms on the Center for Disease Control website before attending the production.

While seated in the audience, household groups should allow a six foot distance from other household groups. MAT is also encouraging everyone to purchase tickets online if possible to minimize contact between audience and staff. Because limited seating is available at the venue location, audience members are further encouraged to bring their own chairs.

According to Angela Pratt, Youth Activities Director at MAT, "Things are going well with this show, and we are looking forward to sharing a little theatre with our community again."

 
 

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