Tag Archives: “The Wizard of Oz”

Roundup: Staples Players, Alexandra Korry, Pumpkins, More


Mark Potts has written for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and — while he was a Staples student — the school paper Inklings.

Last night he reconnected with his alma mater. He writes:

Several years ago an unexpected storm deposited me in Kansas, sans ruby slippers. But my hometown is Westport. Once upon a time I was part of the team that launched radio station WWPT, and playing in the pit band for a Staples Players production of “Oklahoma” is one of my favorite high school memories.

So being able to sit in distant Kansas on Sunday evening and listen to the charming, expertly performed WWPT/Staples Players radio production of “The Wizard of Oz” was a great treat.

Bravo to all involved on a delightful piece of entertainment. It just proves, once again, that there’s still no place like home.

Behind the scenes at “The Wizard of Oz.” Plastic separated the actors from each other, in the Black Box Theater.


Alexandra Korry did not have a high profile in Westport. But when she died at 61 recently of ovarian cancer, the New York Times took note, with a long, admiring obiturary.

It called her “a trailblazing Wall Street lawyer whose potent legal and moral rebuke as head of a civil rights panel helped spur the abolition of solitary confinement for juvenile inmates in New York City.”

She was one of the first women elected partner in the mergers and acquisitions department of the prominent law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. She was also committed to public service, as head of the New York State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Her committee’s reports “criticized the New York City Police Department’sstop-and-frisk strategy, intended to reduce the proliferation of guns, arguing that it was disproportionately directed at Black and Hispanic people.

“And it concluded this year that disparities in state and local funding of education should be considered a civil rights issue because they denied equal opportunity to students in poorer, Black and Hispanic school districts.”

Click here for the full obituary. (Hat tip: John Karrel)

Alexandra Korry (Dick Duane for Sullivan & Cromwell)


Gene Borio sends along this photo:

He explains: “I didn’t know what this was until a woman walking nearby said it was weird: Every pumpkin on her block had been attacked by squirrels. 76 years on this planet, and I’d never heard of such a thing. Neither had she.”


Two religious institutions’ coat drive for Person to Person is nearing an end.

Clothing should be bagged, and sorted by gender and age (adult or youth). Donations can be dropped off in a blue bin labeled “Coat Donations” on the side elevator entrance at Saugatuck Church, or The Conservative Synagogue.

Donation pick-ups are available too. Email alexandrawalsh9@gmail.com for arrangements.


And finally … after more than 50 years on the road, Arlo Guthrie has retired from performing. The 73-year-old son of Woody Guthrie has suffered strokes.

He’s best known for “Alice’s Restaurant.” But his 5 decades of work go far beyond that 20-minute Thanksgiving garbage dump talking classic.

I saw him at the Westport Country Playhouse many years ago. He was the consummate performer. And I really loved that great head of white hair. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Staples Players Plan 3 Special Shows. Global Audience Invited!

In the 1930s, American families gathered around the radio. They listened to live dramas, musicals and comedies, complete with sound effects.

This fall — decades later — families can gather together to enjoy 3 Sunday plays, courtesy of Staples Players.

They’ll be broadcast — free! — on WWPT-FM.

It’s a novel, creative way for the high school drama troupe to put on a show in the midst of a pandemic.

And — because this is 2020 — the professional-quality entertainment can be enjoyed by Players’ relatives, alumni and many fans all around the globe. You can listen on any internet-connected device, via the school radio station’s livestream.

The shows span genres: a musical (“The Wizard of Oz”), a beloved novel (“Pride and Prejudice”) and a classic (“It’s a Wonderful Life”). The dates are October 25, November 8 and November 22, respectively. Airtime is 6 p.m.

Though Players were initially disappointed not to mount their traditional fall mainstage musical, they’ve embraced the radio shows eagerly. Over 50 students are in at least one show. Many are in 2; a few are in all 3.

The live action will be broadcast from the Black Box theater, with actors separated by Plexiglas booths. Sound effects — like the tornado in “Oz,” doors opening and feet creaking — are courtesy of the tech crew, seated next door in Staples’ TV and radio studio.

There’s live music too: Don Rickenback’s piano.

No radio show is complete without ads, of course. With no auditorium audience, Players lost an important fundraising opportunity. But local businesses — including major sponsors Gault, Melissa & Doug, Mitchells and Steve Madden Shoes — will air old-time radio ads.

(There’s still time to buy ads. Players will custom-write a jingle — and sing it. Email playersadsales2020@gmail.com.)

Most rehearsals have been by Zoom, though some have been in person (socially distanced, of course). Good weather has allowed plenty of room outdoors.

Staples Players director David Roth (right) leads an outdoor rehearsal for the upcoming radio plays. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long have made this special project a community event. Each Sunday show will have a food tie-in.

The “Wizard of Oz” menu is curated by Little Barn. Menu choices includes Wicked Witch Wings, Tin Man Tacos, Munchkin Burger (for kids) and emerald City Cocktails.

For “Pride and Prejudice,” Gruel Brittania offers Pemerley’s Prime Rib dinner complete with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and sticky toffee pudding, while “It’s a Wonderful Life”‘s classic meal comes from Dunville’s: George’s Yankee Pot Roast, Zuzu’s Scallops and Mary Hatch’s Stuffed Sole. Ordering details will be available soon.

Meanwhile, Cold Fusion — the locally owned gelato and sorbet company — is celebrating the 3 shows with limited edition special flavors.

“Somewhere Over the Rain-dough” is available for order (before Thursday, October 15!) to enjoy with “The Wizard of Oz.” “Bennet Bananas” is the perfect pairing for “Pride and Prejudice,” while “George Bailey’s Irish Cream” is on tap for “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Click here to order.

The directors are as excited about the radio plays as the actors and tech crew. “Rehearsals have been a lot of fun,” Roth says. “Each show has a different style. There’s a lot of creative energy.

“Of course they’d love to be onstage. But they love this opportunity. They appreciate all the efforts everyone is making for them. They can’t wait to perform these plays.”

(The 3 radio shows can be heard on WWPT, 90.3 FM. For the livestream, click on www.wwptfm.org.)

ENCORE: Though there’s no dancing on radio, Players are keeping their skills sharp. Choreographer Rachel MacIsaac leads dance classes 4 times a week, on the school tennis courts.

Rachel MacIsaac leads an outdoor dance class.

There are no costumes on radio either. But Players’ costume crew is doing designs for every play, just as if they were onstage.

Players runs tech workshops 2 to 3 times a week too. Students get special instruction in skills and tools.

Some of the Foley equipment used for sound effects. (Photo/Brandon Malin)