WHAT'S ON

Wicked Parkes M&D's first production in 12 months

TOTALLY WICKED: Shannen Toole (Galinda) with Shiz ensemble, from left, Amelia Tanswell, Libby Hoyle, Gracie Townsend, Henry Best (obscured), Kate Townsend and Eric Paterson. Photo: Submitted
TOTALLY WICKED: Shannen Toole (Galinda) with Shiz ensemble, from left, Amelia Tanswell, Libby Hoyle, Gracie Townsend, Henry Best (obscured), Kate Townsend and Eric Paterson. Photo: Submitted

"If there is any show we couldn't wait to open, this is it," said Lyn Townsend, the director of Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society's newest and esteemed production Wicked.

It's been a long-time coming - about 14 months to be precise - that a show will grace the Little Theatre stage once again.

As with other events and organisations, the Covid-19 pandemic put a spanner in the works for the Society when it conducted auditions for Wicked last year.

And its first show back, opening this Saturday, May 1, is certainly nothing minuscule - Lyn has pulled out all the stops for this one.

It's to be expected - since Wicked is up there with the best, like Les Misérables, which Lyn also directed in 2019.

Wicked tells the incredible untold story of the witches of Oz.

Long before Dorothy dropped in, two girls meet in the land of Oz and form an unlikely but profound friendship: the blonde and very popular Galinda, played by Forbes' Shannen Toole, and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba, played by Bedgerabong's Hannah Symonds.

Filled with adventure where their friendship is tested, it ultimately sees the two characters fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.

"It's a big show, and actually harder [than Les Misérables], there are many technical aspects to the show," Lyn said.

"Such as flying people - we're only a small society so we don't have a flying tower.

"It hasn't been without its challenges, we've got our plan b's and c's just in case, you have to.

"It has to be safe for the cast... Safety is upmost in our minds.

"And with technology, we have to be prepared for what can go wrong.

"This has been going on for more than 12 months... I really take my hat off to the cast because it's been a very long process."

But Lyn did admit it's been beneficial having a whole year to prepare for the production, especially with her making the costumes.

And in an exciting twist, she has gone modern, not the period costumes Wicked is known for.

"This show I wanted to be creative and different," Lyn said.

"A lot of people have seen Wicked. It might be a bit selfish too but I wanted a challenge - I did period costumes for Les Mis.

"Every costume is unique.

"If we had three months to prepare there was no way I could have done it, we would have had to go period costumes which is not what I wanted.

"It's a bit of a risk but I'm hoping people will like the modern feel.

"I'm loving it personally. It is a feast for the eyes as far as costumes go."

Lyn has been making costumes for Parkes M&D productions for 20 years now, the same amount of time she's been a director.

"I directed my first show in 2001 and I've been directing ever since," she said.

"I got involved with the M&D in 1984, in Oliver - I was an urchin, one of Fagin's children, I was 15 years old.

"Fagin was Bill Jayet, who is the Wizard in Wicked."

LEADING THE WAY: Hannah Symonds (Elphaba), Matt Prow (Fiyero), Shannen Toole (Galinda) and Bill Jayet (Oz) some of the lead characters in Wicked. Photo: Submitted

LEADING THE WAY: Hannah Symonds (Elphaba), Matt Prow (Fiyero), Shannen Toole (Galinda) and Bill Jayet (Oz) some of the lead characters in Wicked. Photo: Submitted

Bill is one of eight leads in Wicked and is looking to finish his amateur theatre career with the show after 56 years. A career that began in Forbes at 18 years old.

Wicked also boasts quite a regional cast - there are seven people involved from the Forbes Shire, one from Grenfell, two from Cowra and two from Orange.

Lyn said it's nothing out of the ordinary as the Society continues to grow its reputation for quality productions.

"We are very much a regional company," she said.

"It's great... As a Society we want to create the best production we possibly can.

"We're known as a very close theatre family and we're very inclusive."

OZ ENSEMBLE: Ita Hughes, Holly McGregor, Roxanne Gallacher, Joel Gallacher, Libby Hoyle, Gracie Townsend, Sophie Wright, Kate Walsh, Kate Townsend, Hope Kealley-Smith, Eric Paterson, Jess Morgan and Miles Holloway. Photo: Submitted

OZ ENSEMBLE: Ita Hughes, Holly McGregor, Roxanne Gallacher, Joel Gallacher, Libby Hoyle, Gracie Townsend, Sophie Wright, Kate Walsh, Kate Townsend, Hope Kealley-Smith, Eric Paterson, Jess Morgan and Miles Holloway. Photo: Submitted

Wicked has a cast of 32, with a crew of 12 and 11 band members.

Tickets to Wicked are selling very well with more than 70 per cent already sold.

Lyn said the matinees are virtually sold out.

"It's the best selling show we've ever had in terms of tickets sold before the show," she said.

People can also use their $25 Discover vouchers for the show now that the Society has registered under the government's Dine and Discover program.

"There are very limited opportunities to use the Discover vouchers in Parkes so this is people's chance," Lyn said.

The vouchers however cannot be used when purchasing tickets online - people either need to email the Society directly at parkesmandd2870@gmail.com or call into Regional Business Supplies in Clarinda Street to redeem the voucher and book your seat.

Wicked will run over four weekends, opening May 1 until May 23. For tickets and venue layout visit www.parkesmandd.com.au.

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram