Monday, July 27, 2009

We’re alive!

We made it through Opening Weekend and all the madness it entailed!

All told, the first week was the roughest on the cast, as they had a dress rehearsal and two preview nights before Opening Night. Never again will they have to do the show that many days in a row (6), and the fact that we were not only still standing by the end, but still had plenty of energy to spare was amazing. I have the most amazing cast in the world, I really do.

We had plenty of people coming to cheer us on the first weekend, and the response has been very gratifying to hear.

And we’re getting plenty of fans, young and old. Some of them even dress up, like this awesome family here. When you show up dressed as Dorothy and carrying Wizard Of Oz themed Beanie Babies, you can bet we’re gonna grab a picture of you, because it’s just too cute for words.

Also too cute for words are the cupcakes we’re selling at the concession counter. Toto head cupcakes. All sorts of yummers, and only $2.00. Considering that Sprinkles cupcakes go for more than that, you can be sure you’re getting a delicious bargain.

Come and see us! We’re running for eight more weeks!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Opening Night!

So it all comes down to this:

From our beginning table read on June 13th to now. Six weeks of rehearsing, blocking, reblocking, dialogue learning, puzzling over the inner life of Munchkins, learning the proper way to cut and curl long strips of silk.

From dialogue tweaking to Sparkly Shoe spraying to reblocking again because we got the set up, to the delicate art of puppet making (the Rabbit has eyes now! Wheeeeeeee!)

From new director searches, to replacing actors, to rehearsing fights to costume changes to what does a flock of flying monkeys sound like, to a last minute frenzy of baking Opening Night Goodies that kept me up until early this morning.

It's all for this - our Opening Night.

I am absolutely nothing without my awesome cast and crew. And we are nothing without an audience.

Come down to check us out! We're running for nine weeks! Details on the right hand side!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting there...

These are pictures of our incredible set, by our amazing designer Christina Silvoso.

The awesome Shelley Delayne did the hot air balloon.

It's pretty AND versatile. We're all very very excited.

Monday, July 20, 2009

5 Days Before We Open

And it's around this time in the pre-production process that everyone turns into a completely different person.

Amazing to see what effects stress has on a personality. Our director has gotten very funny (she was funny to begin with, but now she's punchy funny and quite witty.)

Our costume designer has gotten very verbal with her thank yous and encouragements, which means a lot when you're lost in the wilderness with a hot glue gun and miles of silk ribbon that you're supposed to transform into a lion's mane. "That looks amazing" she says, and suddenly, all your burnt fingers are worthwhile.

Our Munchkins are so in sync that they're finishing each other sentences when they're not onstage.

And as for me? I'm swearing. A lot. Not AT anyone. Just in general conversation. It's easier to express your thoughts through profanity(like how stupid people are on Wilshire Blvd. during 6pm traffic.) Such a shorthand, when you're working on five and a half hours of sleep every day.

When you're opening five days away, all you see is what's going wrong. Light cues, sound cues, dialogue goofs, our rabbit puppet doesn't have eyes, do we need a makeup person. Intellectually, you know everything will sort itself out. Emotionally, you're not there yet.

Everyone is working their ass off, and we're actually much farther along in terms of cue to cues than many productions are. It's just that we've got so much technical stuff going on that it's hard to see how far we've come, because all I can see is how far we have to go.

It will be fine. Oh yes, it will be.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Ask Toto A Question # 14

Dear Toto,

I am a young boy suffering from the onset of early male-pattern baldness. My only friend is my beagle. He's a nice enough dog, I guess, but he seems to have an overly rich fantasy life. There are times I've caught him pretending to be a WWI fighter pilot, a tortured author, even a vulture! Is this behavior normal? (I'd ask my therapist, but her advice often isn't even worth the incredibly inexpensive nickel per session that she charges.)

Sincerely yours,


Hi CB! I gotta ask you, what’s with you humans and your therapists, anyway, huh? Let me see if I understand this: you pay someone to listen to you talk about your problems, and then they tell you what to do? You know, I do that for free. Dorothy tells me all her problems, all her secrets, all her dreams, and I wag my tail and lick her face and it makes her smile, and that’s all FREE. Why would you PAY someone to listen to you when you have me? Well, you don’t have me, you have a delusional beagle. But still. You know what I mean.

As to your question – is your delusional beagle normal? Let me counter with another question – what IS normal?

Dogs don’t understand therapists, and we don’t understand normal. Some of us chase our tail for DAYS. Is that normal? We sleep close to 12 - 14 hours a day, is that normal? We greet you when you come in the room with so much excitement, it’s like we didn’t just see you leave five minutes ago, is that normal? A lot of us like to lick our…well, is that normal?

Your dog has a rich fantasy life. That just means your dog is extremely independent, and doesn’t need you to keep it entertained, which is rare, but normal isn’t part of the equation when you’re talking about dogs. We’re all pretty weird.

Besides, I’ve seen your dog flying his doghouse over the farm once or twice. He’s pretty badass.

Thanks for the question!

Ask Toto A Question runs every other week until the questions run out. Don’t let that happen! Send Toto your queries at

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Director's Notes

Hey everybody! It's our first guest blog! FINALLY! I'm super super excited. Please welcome our director, Jamie Virostko:

A director is the person responsible for the interpretive aspects of a production; the person who supervises the integration of all the elements such as acting, staging, and lighting, required to realize the writer's conception. That would be my job. That’s me. THE DIRECTOR. Oooooooh.

So how am I going about directing? What am I doing to facilitate the “integration of all the elements?” I spend a lot of time thinking about Munchkins. I spend a lot of time thinking about a dog, a girl, a cat, a witch, a wizard and three mutants...but Munchkins. I meditate on set and costumes and sound and color palettes...Hm...Munchkins. I ponder the logistics of thirteen scenes and ten different locations occupying the same space in quick succession...and I think about Munchkins. They are the key to solving all my problems - the secret ingredient that will facilitate the perfect amalgamation of all the distinct, intense and varied flavors of Oz stew.

I think about enchanted Munchkins becoming flowers and transforming into rivers. I envision wild Munchkins clandestinely tormenting unsuspecting travelers along the Yellow Brick Road. I ponder the uninhibited imagination of Munchkins and whether it can, in fact, reach into other dimensions.

Who are Munchkins really? How do they spend their days? What do they do for fun? Are they each born with a blind obsession with magic or is it due to environmental conditioning?

I consider the mighty Munchkin Army. Is it volunteer or are all Munchkins required to serve? What’s Munchkin boot camp like? How did they drive the Wicked Witch of the West out of the Emerald City?

Munchkins...How can their skills be utilized? Their nature focused? Their power harnessed? Am I tampering with forces I cannot possibly understand? Perhaps. But, I am the Director….Hmmmmm…..Munchkins.

- Jamie Virostko