‘Wizard of Oz’ on Whidbey deviates a bit from classic

If you are thinking of day tripping over to Whidbey Island one of these weekends, you can check out some theater along with the island’s scenery, fine art and restaurants.

Whidbey Children’s Theatre is presenting “The Wizard of Oz” and remaining pretty true to the movie version with a tornado, the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion, the wizard, a bad witch and a good witch, munchkins and flying monkeys.

The story stars Dorothy from Kansas who takes a dreamlike journey to the Land of Oz when a tornado hits her home.

A bit of a deviation from the movie involves a chalkboard.

Director Bekah Zachritz, who hails from Kansas herself, decided that since the show has many scene changes, she would create something a bit unusual for the Oz set.

“We are using the medium of chalkboard art to bring a mystical quality to our production,” said Zachritz, adding that the actors will be taught how to draw the scenes throughout the performance.

“The actors will then illustrate the scenes with chalkboard art as they are happening,” Zachritz said in a prepared statement. “The idea of having art involved in this production was born of the idea of creating magic through simplicity.”

“The Wizard of Oz” opens at 7:30 Friday night at Whidbey Children’s Theatre, 222 Anthes Ave., Langley. The show plays at various times through July 14.

Tickets are $12, $10 and $8. Family shows are June 30 and July 13 and all tickets are $8. Call the box office at 360-221-2282 or on line at www.whidbeychildrenstheater.org or in person at the theater.

“Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”: You’ve got some time to plan to hop to the island and see this musical revue which opens July 19 at the Black Box Theater at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds, 819 Camano Ave., Langley.

Perhaps you are new to the work of Jacques Brel but his insightful ballads have influenced several American musicians, including Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and Frank Sinatra.

This production consists of 25 songs performed by three vocalists, including Ned Farley, Ken Martinez and Katie Woodzick, and is directed by K. Sandy O’Brien with musical direction by Scott Small.

The orchestra for the OutCast production will include Richard Hughe on guitar and mandolin, Jonathan Small on bass, Scott Small on percussion and Sheila Weidendorf on piano and accordion.

This musical revue was written for English-speaking audiences by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman, with Brel’s original music and French lyrics included. “Jacques Brel” originally opened in 1968 in a Greenwich Village theater. Brel is known for his brooding, evocative songs about life, death, love and the consequences of human folly, according to press material about the show.

“Jacques Brel” runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from July 19 to Aug. 3 and at 2 p.m. Sundays, July 21 and 28.

Tickets are $18 general and $14 for students and seniors. Go to brownpapertickets.com or reserve them by email at ocp@whidbey.com. Reserved tickets can be picked up at the door and paid for by cash or check.

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