Journey to Oz

Journey to Oz

The works of L. Frank Baum are numerous and his tales of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz are his most beloved.  In this fantastic new adaptation we are invited to go to Oz with Dorothy as audience members become a part of an experiential production, singing and dancing, and acting alongside professional actors.  When the cyclone comes, the entire theater enters the eye of the storm with whisking lights and exciting music created by lauded composer, Josh Totora.

L. Frank Baum and illustrator W. W. Denslow were influenced by the innovations of the late 19th century.  Electricity, steam powered engines, and innovations like the moving picture captured the imaginations of writers and dreamers.  Oz is a magical place of inspiration borne out of events like the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair and the advent of traveling circuses. This play features images and theatricality of more than a century’s past using the sights and sounds from Baum’s books and the world he was living in.

Students play 16 individual roles during the play, in addition to a few who are picked to dance in the Emerald City. The entire audience will sing; create sound effects; participate in call and response; and play Munchkins, Winkies, Crows, and Flying Monkeys.

Journey to Oz was originated at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte where the target audience was 4-12 year-old students (grades k-6), and family audiences all ages.

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DAN BRUNSON (Tin Woodman/Wizard) A Charlotte, NC Native, studied voice and drama at The University of North Carolina, School of the Arts.  Dan moved to NYC and performed professionally for 6 years in national bus and truck tours of many productions including the smash Off-Broadway Musical hit, Forever Plaid as Frankie in various cities, including NY.  Since moving back to his hometown, he has been working as a professional commercial actor, as well as a photographer. In Charlotte he has performed notable roles in Journey to Oz, Tarzan, Civil War, In The Heat of the Night and Dracula, just to name a few.

NICIA CARLA (Wicked Witch/Emerald City Doorman) A regular on Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s stage during the past 16 years, Carla’s credits include Snail in A Year with Frog and Toad, the Wicked Witch in Journey to Oz, Homily in The Borrowers, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Mrs. Beaver in The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, among others. As a director and teacher with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Carla has worked on Mainstage, Resident Touring Company and Teen projects, including 1000 Cranes, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and The Wrestling Season. Carla is a Wolf Trap teaching artist and the Artistic Director of PaperHouse Theatre, whose upcoming show is a Gothic Vampire story, She Who Watches. Carla sends love to to P and J. www.niciacarla.com

JOHN GALAS (Cowardly Lion) National Tours: Guys and Dolls (Big Jule), My Fair Lady (Ensemble); Big League Productions, Music Man (Oliver Hix); Windwood Theatrical. Regional: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Asher); ST New Canon, The Mikado (Pooh-Bah) Theatre at Monmouth, Adventures of Perseus (Medusa, Polydectes); Experiential Theater Co., Fiddler on the Roof (Avram); Syracuse Stage, Pinkalicious (Mr. Pinkerton): Bleekr Street Theatre, Peter and the Starcatcher (Smee); Perseverance Theatre, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Buzz Who); Big League Productions, La Bonne D’Enfant (Bryn D’Amour); Divaria Productions. Proud graduate of Syracuse University.  John is currently a guest Artist in Residence at Troy University. www.johngalas.weebly.com

NAJA SELBY-MORTON (Glinda) An actor, teaching artist, hardcore Jersey Girl, and MoM (Mother of Multiples). Naja has been working with the Experiential Theater Company since 2014, appearing in productions of Sunjata Kamalenya (Alaska Junior Theater, Children’s Theater of Charlotte, Walton Arts Center) The Adventures of Perseus, and Journey to Oz (Zoellner Arts Center, PA). Other credits include Clybourne Park (Shadowland Theater, NY), Electra (Theatre Row, NYC), and ‘da Kink in my Hair (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto). Naja teaches acting and public speaking at The Institute of Music for Children, a non-profit organization in NJ, and creates original work as a member of the Zaman Dance Theater Collective. Alum of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

BRADY WEASE (Scarecrow/Flying Monkey Lawyer) SSTI: Shear Madness, Florida Rep: Shear Madness (Directed by Bruce Jordan), Damascus (Staged Reading), Miss Nelson is Missing, A Dream Within a Dream; The Spirit of Poe. Triad Stage: A Christmas Carol, Snow Queen, All’s Well That Ends Well. Educational: Into the Woods (Conducted by Dominick Amendum), Hairspray, Cabaret, A Year with Frog and Toad, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Twelfth Night, Spamalot, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Education: BFA Acting, UNCG 2016.

CHRISTOPHER PARKS (Director/Playwright) Christopher is the Artistic Director for both Experiential Theater Company and Garden State Children’s Theater Company.  As a playwright, Christopher has written many of the plays for both companies, including The Odyssey Experience, Sunjata Kamalenya, Journey to Oz, Aesop’s Fables, Healthier Ever After, and The Adventures of Perseus.  Selected directing credits include On Us (Rose Bruford, London), Dream Within a Dream: The Spirit of Poe (Florida Repertory Theatre), Bear State of Mind (co-directed with Kassie Misiewicz, Trike Theatre), Arabian Nights, The Tempest, a Puppet Play (McCarter Theatre Center), and Journey to Oz (Long Island Children’s Museum). Christopher created the interactive style of performance called experiential theater and guest lectures on the subject at universities and theaters in the U.S. and Europe.  Former Director of Education at the McCarter Theatre Center.  Graduate of Mason Gross, School of the Arts.  www.exptheater.org www.gsctc.org

EXPERIENTIAL THEATER COMPANY The Experiential Theater Company, brings immersive, interactive theater to young audiences (TYA) throughout the United States, Ireland, and United Kingdom.  Their TYA work has been seen at theaters and performing arts centers all over the country and abroad, including Alaska Junior Theater; McCarter Theatre Center; The John F. Kennedy Center (New Visions/New Voices); Children’s Theater of Charlotte; New Jersey Renaissance Kingdom; Long Island Children’s Museum; Maryland Publick Playhouse; Goodwill Theatre; Acadiana Center for the Arts; Trike Theatre for Youth; Gateway Playhouse, Rose Bruford, London; Roscommon Arts Center; Lime Tree Theater; The Black Box; San Angelo PAC; Segrestrom PAC; Walton Arts Center; and Florida Repertory Theatre.  Experiential Theater Company has the unique distinction of being the first-ever American theater company to be invited to perform at both the prestigious Babaró International Festival for Children in Galway, Ireland and the Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival in Limerick.  www.exptheater.org

CHILDREN’S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE Founded in 1948, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (CTC) has grown to become one of the top theatre and education organizations for young people in the United States. Nationally recognized for the breadth and strength of its programs, CTC provides more than 250,000 experiences for children and families a year with technically imaginative productions and wide-ranging education programs for young people.  Each year CTC mounts professional productions for children and families, with the curtain rising more than 600 times during a season – that’s more than any other theatre company in the state of North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer’s theatre critic called Children’s Theatre of Charlotte “the city’s leading professional troupe,” and each season their actors, designers and directors receive numerous awards for their work on the stage. Another critic called CTC’s work “the most technically imaginative and resourceful theatre productions in the region.”  www.ctcharlotte.org

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