Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz Returns to The House Theatre of Chicago 3/17-5/7

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

The House Theatre of Chicago 
announces the final production in their 15
th season, 
The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, 
adapted from L. Frank Baum’s book by The House Theatre Company Member Phillip Klapperich and directed by The House Theatre Company Member Tommy Rapley, playing at the Chopin Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., March 17 – May 7. 

Recommended for Ages 10+

ChiIL Mama and the teens will be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's House Theatre for the press opening of their remount of The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. We're all beyond excited to check it out! I vividly remember watching this childhood classic on the living room floor, as a young kid, snuggled up in my new sleeping bag. Abduction by flying monkey was the stuff of my nightmares for years. Still, I adored the movie and eager awaited it's annual TV showing, back in the days before DVDs and on demand. As a parent, it was fun to rediscover it as I introduced it to my children. Now we'll get to enjoy yet another iteration, on stage, reimagined by one of our local favs!

First produced by The House Theatre of Chicago in their third season, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz returns with modern twist on the classic American tale. A twister lands our teenage Dorothy and her house in Munchkinland. Right on top of a wicked witch. Her phone won't work, her dog is scared, and she's desperate to get home to what little family she has left.  But the town's residents are gleefully celebrating Dorothy's powers as the fabled Witch Slayer. When Glinda and the munchkins can't convince her to stick around and be their new hero, they send her off on the road of yellow brick wearing magical boots soaked in the red blood of the slain witch. A favor from the fabled all-powerful Wizard will be her only chance to get out of Oz.

Unsure about her path forward, Dorothy teams up with a one-day-old Scarecrow, a heartbroken Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion. Her boots, and their friendships, guard against lots of danger on their way to the Emerald City. But the Wizard will ask the Witch Slayer to live up to her violent and vengeful new name in exchange for a return ticket to her old life.

The forest creatures of Oz come to life with puppets large and small by Jesse Mooney-Bullock (The Hammer Trinity), and music from company member Kevin O'Donnell. With fighting monkeys flying in the air overhead, and enveloping projections on all sides of the theatre, Dorothy's travels will be filled with mystery, wonder, and surprise. If she can get home, Kansas may never be the same. 

Performance Schedule: 
Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. Preview tickets (March 17 – March 26, no performance March 25) are $15 and regular run tickets range from $30 – $45. 

The show is recommended for adults and kids aged 10 and up. Same-day tickets for students and industry professionals are $15 and available for all dates, seats permitting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832. 

The cast includes: 
Kara Davidson* (Dorothy), Joey Steakley* (Toto), Christine Mayland Perkins* (Scarecrow), Jeremy Sonkin (Tin Woodsman), Michael E. Smith* (Cowardly Lion), AnJi White^ (The Witch of the West), Benjamin Sprunger (The Wizard of Oz/Levi-Strauss), Amanda de la Guardia (Glinda), Ben Hertel* (Ensemble), Elana Elyce* (Ensemble), Tina Munoz Pandya (Ensemble) and Carlos Olmedo (Ensemble) and understudies are Anthony Kayer, David KaplinskyMonica Szaflik and Tamara White.
The design team includes: Tommy Rapley*, director; Phillip Klapperich*, writer; Collette Pollard*, scenic designer; Mieka van der Ploeg, costume designer; Lee Keenan*, lighting designer; Grover Holloway, sound designer; Kevin O’Donnell*, composer; Matthew Muniz*, music director; Joseph Burke, projections designer; Jesse Mooney-Bullock, puppet designer; Ryan Borque, fight choreographer; Dennis Watkins*, magic designer; and Brian DesGranges*^, stage manager.
*House Company Member  ^Actor’s Equity Association Member

Phillip co-founded The House, in 2000, with Nathan Allen and Shawn Pfautsch. He was the executive director of the company until 2009, and remains a company member. He has written several House shows, including The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan, The Rocketman, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, The Nutcracker and co-wrote Wilson Wants it All.
Tommy is a proud company member with The House where he regularly directs and choreographs. A member of Actor's Equity Association, he has performed around Chicago on stages such as Drury Lane Oakbrook, The Marriott, The Court and The Goodman Theatre. His directing credits include The Nutcracker, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, Hope Springs Infernal, DORIAN and Ellen Under Glass. Rapley also regularly teaches at Chicago Academy for the Arts and Northwestern University.

The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 66 Joseph Jefferson Awards (23 wins), became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 15th anniversary year of original work is underway and The House continues it mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832.

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