Defying Gravity

Tonight I’m writing from my dressing room at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, listening to Dorothy and Scarecrow get into a tussle with some talking apple trees. I’m halfway in, halfway out of my gigantic Glinda dress, and the Wicked Witch is busy touching up her green makeup behind me while her pointed black hat lurks ominously next to my laptop on the makeup table.

There are so many moments in this show that I love, but it is hard to beat one moment in particular. It happens as I make a flying entrance over the heads of the audience and into Munchkinland in a gold hoop, right before I ask Dorothy if she is a “good witch or a bad witch. I always hear a gasp of recognition as the first audience member notices what’s happening above them. Then more voices join in, fingers point in my direction, and sometimes children in the audience can’t stop themselves from shouting, “Look!!!” It’s the kind of stage magic that made me fall in love with theatre as a kid. Fortunately, I don’t have a fear of heights – I get a huge kick out of defying gravity eight times a week! (Although it was a little tricky figuring out how to gracefully get on and off the aparatus while holding a wand and wearing a hoop skirt and a 3-foot crown.) I think I’m going to miss that bubble/hoop when the show closes July 15.

The flight experience is just one of many strange and memorable moments I’m storing away in my memory from this show: helping fellow cast members transform from talking trees to dancing Poppies to green Oz dancers to Winkie guards in a barrage of velcro and zippers; watching my daughter Clara bond backstage with the Munchkins while Daisy rocked the dress rehearsal in her tiny ruby slippers and a Dorothy dress; laughing with the Lion after the show as his sweaty costume hangs inside out in front of a fan; having a mock sword-fight with the Glinda wand.

I often wonder what the audience would think if they could see what’s really going on right behind the curtains. But I know what they get to see on stage is awfully magical. I hope you’ll have a chance to drop in and see what we’ve been up to. There’s no place like Oz!

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