Wizard of Odds: Community theater at its absolute best

I’ve got one word for The Wizard of Odds: WOWZA! There are a lot of talented and funny people here at the end of the road. But I’m not telling you anything new.

From the very beginning, this show was hilarious. And by Saturday night, it was over the top engaging. The actors and the audience were in a feeding frenzy. The script, the music and lyrics, the characters, the plot twists — hands down this was great community theater. There are so many people that contributed to this performance, I am in awe.

The first person I want to thank is Sally Oberstein, co-writer and director. Her dedication to the project, and the talented people she enlisted for this production were nothing less than phenomenal. The brainchild for this collaborative show started a year ago with writer friends Michael McKinney and Alan Olson, and grew to what you saw this past weekend. Sally and the 30 cast members spent countless hours over the last three months creating, learning and practicing right up until the last performance. These actors spanned in age from 5 to 81, with kids representing one-third of the cast. Thank you all for your dedication and heartfelt performances. 

Then, there is Shelly Erickson to thank for the incredible musical score and charm of the band. These folks rehearsed separately, and then together with the cast as it got closer to show time. Although the people in the band had not previously worked together, they added tremendous energy and spirit.

I also want to mention the incredible crew backstage, that none of you saw, but were an essential part of the mechanism that created the magic. Sara Woltjen and Owen Duffy did a brilliant job managing the stage and technical crew through many costume changes, microphone,and set changes. The high school crew members (managed by Owen) Rebecca and Rachel Seneff, Drewey Wimmerstedt, and Johnny Hamilton handled their roles gracefully and professionally. And honestly, how about that van? Harmon Hall, Bobby Paulino and Rene Alvarez built and managed all of the parts and pieces that we, as audience, never think about (like, how did that van get turned around). Thank you for your ideas, enthusiasm, and dedication. 

Lynne Burt and Marie Walker, our resident costume gurus, lent their talents as well. A huge thank you is also owed to Michael Hurd whose daunting task was to manage 12 wireless microphones, no easy feat in itself, and the plethora of costume changes and microphone sharing. Thank you, Michael, for your persistence and patience. Thank you Jesse Bolt for adding the mise en scene that lighting provides.  

The Wizard of Odds took on a life of its own and the community came to cheer them on. Thank you all for making this HCOA program a wonderful community event. Truly, there is no place like Homer.

Peggy Paver, executive director

Homer Council on the Arts