NE Musicals York to stage The Wizard Of Oz with orchestra, two Dorothys, two Totos, a cast of 60, 150 wigs and 200 costumes

They’re off to see the Wizard: Libby Anderson’s Dorothy, Kristian Barley’s Tin Man and Finley Butler’s Scarecrow in rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s The Wizard Of Oz

DIRECTOR Steve Tearle has assembled a cast of 60 for NE Musicals York’s energetic staging of The Wizard Of Oz at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from November 23 to 27.

The company will be led by Libby Anderson and Scarlett Waugh, who will alternate the role of Dorothy. “They are both amazing,” says Steve.

Further principal roles go to Maia Stroud as Glinda; YO1 presenter Chris Marsden, the Wizard of Oz; Perri Ann Barley, Wicked Witch of the West; Finley Butler, the Scarecrow; Kristian Barley, the Tin Man, and Tearle himself as the Cowardly Lion.

The Lollipop Guild welcomes Dorothy (out of picture) to Munchkinland:  Zachary Pickersgill, left, as Someri Munchkin, Jack Reed as Ginger Munchkin, Matthew Musk as Kikiaru Munchkin and Sam Reed as Henkle Munchkin

Expect an all-singing, all-dancing production with special effects by Adam Moore’s team at Tech247. “This amazing story is full of heart, knowledge, courage and love for our families,” says company chairman Steve.

“With more than 60 cast members and the youngest being just six years old, this truly is a theatre event. Our company is made up of families, with mums and dads on stage and their children or parents chaperoning backstage.”

In the familiar but updated story, when a tornado rips through present-day Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz.

The Lullaby League: Sophia Cocker as Lullaby League teacher Amie-Amme Munchkin; Lexie Brooks as Mubba-Subba Munchkin; Aimee Dean-Hamilton as Bonnini-Pop Munchkin; Suraya Pickersgill as Pippy-Bay Munchkin; Abigail Ainley as Mulini Munchkin Graggity and Elizabeth Reese as Blinki-Bop Munchkin

There they meet a good witch called Glinda, who tells them they need to follow the Yellow Brick Road towards the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. Along the way, Dorothy and Toto befriend a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, who join them on her quest, but not all is as it seems, alas.

The Wicked Witch of the West is determined to stop them, but will she succeed, or will Dorothy prevail and return home safely, Toto in tow?

“We’ll have a full orchestra, 200 specially designed costumes and 150 wigs, and our amazing projections will only add to this being a truly magical musical adventure,” says Steve.

A group rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s production of The Wizard Of Oz

“Rehearsals are going well, and we go into the theatre from Sunday. Fingers crossed all goes to plan!  We’ve sold out the Friday evening show and Saturday matinee, with only seven seats left for the Saturday night and limited availability for the Tuesday and Thursday performances.

“Our opening night is dedicated to Millie May Wright, and the charities we’ll be supporting and collecting for are Candlelighters, Snappy and Stimul8.”

NE Musicals York in The Wizard Of Oz, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, November 23 to 27, 7,.30pm nightly and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Meet Dolly, one of two Totos, along with her brother Teddy, for NE Musicals York’s The Wizard Of Oz


Red light for Blue Light Theatre Company’s 2021 pantomime after Covid call-off

The Blue Light Theatre Company cast for Oh! What A Circus at Acomb Working Men’s Club in January 2021

THE Blue Light Theatre Company are now the ‘red light’ company after stopping their upcoming winter pantomime in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

In an official statement, the York performers explain: “Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, we regret that we are unable to bring you our annual pantomime in January 2021. We have not taken this decision lightly but the safety of our cast and audience must be our main concern.

“However, we do plan to return later in 2021/2022 with more great performances while raising money for our chosen charities. We would like to thank you all for your continued support. Stay safe and well and we look forward to seeing you next year.”

Regular writer and co-producer Perri Ann Barley is keeping the show’s title under wraps until Blue Light resume pantomime business, hopeful of being given the green light for performances at Acomb Working Men’s Club in January 2022.

Company member Mark Friend adds: “We’re also hoping to perform a play in Summer 2021, but no decision has been made yet as to what due to the uncertainty that lies before us.”

Blue Light Theatre Company are so named on account of being made up of paramedics, ambulance dispatchers and York Hospital staff, as well as members of York’s theatre scene.

Last January, they presented Oh! What A Circus, a show replete with fairy-tale characters such as Pinocchio, Geppetto, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Tinkerbell and Hansel and Gretel, in aid of York Against Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease (York).