"The Wizard of Oz"
National Tour 1998 and The Lowry's Sell-Out first Christmas Show 2000
Manchester Evening News Award Winner, 'Best Special Entertainment'
This was one of Feelgood’s most innovative and adventurous shows to date. Not only was it going to be the full scale musical, it would have no band, use children, animals, and be outdoors in the great British summer! It rained quite a lot in the summer of 98 but Feelgood triumphed with this brilliant production.
In addition to it being a walk about production the most unique feature was the singing. The whole score was transposed for voice by Faith Watson, an a cappella specialist. It remained true to the original but blended up to eight voices producing a thrilling feast for the ears especially when heard in the still of the night.
Using the RSC script (that of the famous film) an incredible cast took audiences on a theatrical journey of adventure singing and dancing along the ‘yellow brick road’s’ of many beautiful parks across the north west. They found Dorothy - and her dog Toto - in a real farm yard, then joined her to find a scarecrow on a fence post, the Tinman in a forest of strange talking apple trees, the Lion terrified on a hill side and the Munchkins - made up of local school children from each area - popped up in all manner of places during the show. The wicked witch terrified everyone zooming around on her motor-bike driven by Niko the flying monkey, her field of poisonous poppies covered the valley and her hill top castle was the sight of spectacular fire works.
Both the outdoor and indoor (at The Lowry) productions galvanised the whole community. Designer Allison Clarke and students at Manchester College of Arts and Technology designed costumes and over 140 young people were given the opportunity to perform alongside the professionals.
So successful was the show in 1998 that the new international venue The Lowry chose it as their first Christmas Show in 2000. It completely sold out, thrilling audiences young and old.
Stephanie Davey (Dorothy), Guy Warburton (Tinman), Ian Casey (Scarecrow), Darren Clarke (Lion), Carolyn Hargreaves (Glinda), Catherine Friel (Wicked Witch), Robert Maxfield (Mr. Marvel/Wizard), Jill Kemp (Toto) Chris Kearnes (Niko Flying Monkey), Toto the canine variety played by ‘Sally’.
Amy Rhiannon-Worth (Dorothy), Guy Warburton (Tinman), Ian Casey (Scarecrow), Stephen Svanholm (Lion), Nicola Barnfield (Glinda), Caroline Hurst (Wicked Witch), Robert Maxfield (Mr. Marvel/Wizard), Jill Kemp (Toto), Nicola Parker and Ashley Nuttal (Niko Flying Monkey), Toto the canine variety played by ‘Pippa’.
Caroline Clegg (Producer/Director), Faith Watson (Musical Director), Allison Clarke (Designer).
“Even experienced theatre critics are allowed an occasional glimpse of magic. The entire cast and their amazingly enthusiastic support team deserve awards heaped upon them. Miss it and you will miss a magical experience...” - The Stage
“...Action packed entertainment works best under the stars and The Wizard of Oz is spot on… this really is just as good as this sort of thing gets - just about everything is perfect… the costumes are spectacular and the songs - sung by an excellent cast - many trained opera singers - are one of the joys of the whole experience… look out too for the deliciously wicked witch zooming around on a motor bike!...” - Manchester Evening News 1998
“...From city streets to country houses from a theatre on water to an arena of ice, the range of shows that won through to nomination is remarkable. Streets Ahead Festival, Torville and Dean, Steve Coogan, Gawsworth Hall, but in the end it was a race between two special achievements, The Sinking of the Titanic and Wizard of Oz. The magical Wizard won, acclaimed by the judges as “a most innovative production, compelling and timed to perfection. Even those who saw it in the rain remembered only their enjoyment, there can be no greater tribute.” - Manchester Evening News Awards Panel 1998
“...Feelgood is the name of the company and that’s just how the audience felt at the end of the yellow brick road...” - The Stage 2000
“...I followed the yellow brick road...experienced the kind of panto I remember as a kid, no big stars, no blaring music just the wonderful ‘over the rainbow’ story played out with a most innocent magic touch. This Oz was a new experience with chimes of the old. See it and wallow in its comforting simplicity.” - Wigan Chronicle