FREEPORT – Stephanie Ross of Lyman and her daughter, Angela Moline, will form a potent combination in the presentation of “The Wizard of Oz,” which runs July 17-27 at the Freeport Performing Arts Center. It’s part of the 25th anniversary season of Freeport Players. Ross is directing the play, which Freeport Players is co-producing with Freeport Family Performing Arts. Moline, 14, is playing none other than the part of Dorothy.

Ross, co-director Tim Ryan and musical director David Delano chose the cast. Elizabeth Guffey, artistic/managing director of Freeport Players, said that Moline was chosen for Dorothy based on her onstage presence, how she sang “Over the Rainbow” and how she performed her lines.

Mother and daughter are quite familiar working with each other. They have worked at Acorn Productions of Westbrook, among other local theaters.

“She’s been coming with me since she was 2,” Ross said after the two made the hour-long trip for rehearsal to Freeport last week. “I’ve been teaching theater since 2002, so she’s literally been in training since then.”

When Ross says “literally,” she means it. She and her daughter worked on “Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr.” when Angela was 3.

“She just came up to me and said, ‘Can I be in the play?’” Ross said.

Moline took time from her busy summer schedule to answer questions regarding her part in “The Wizard of Oz” for Tri-Town Weekly.

Q: Are you trying to emulate Judy Garland in this role?

A: I grew up watching “The Wizard of Oz” and loved Judy Garland’s performance. As an actor, I want to be able to bring my own performance to this role, portraying Dorothy naturally by what comes out when I read those lines, and not replicate Garland’s Dorothy.

Q: This part carries a big responsibility, with a part in just about every scene. What’s that like? Is this your first lead?

A: It’s been a lot of fun to have the chance to perform this part. This isn’t the first lead I’ve had, but I would say this is the largest cast I’ve been a part of.

Q: What’s the most challenging part, the dialogue, the dancing, or what?

A: The most challenging part of being in this production may be the dancing. I’ve been wanting to take dance lessons for a while, as musical theater is a career I want to be a part of, but I haven’t gotten on top of that yet.

Q: You have to remember a lot of lines. Have you played any other parts like that?

A: Memorizing lines has become sort of a natural habit for me, and usually comes easily to me. I would say the closest parts I’ve played to this, line wise, would be Bottom from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and Millie from the junior version of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Q: So, you like musicals?

A: I love musicals! It’s so much fun to get up on stage, perform a scene, and then get to break out in song. I hope to make a career out of performing in plays and musicals – it would be really cool to play Amneris from “Aida” some day, and I have a large hope to perform on Broadway one day.

Q: Can you remember a time you weren’t involved in plays?

A: I honestly can’t. Theater has played such a huge role in my life, it just feels like it has always been a part of me.

Q: How did you become connected with Freeport Players?

A: I saw Freeport Players production of “The Mikado.” When I heard about the auditions for “The Wizard of Oz,” I thought, “Why not?” and ended up going to the auditions.


A CLOSER LOOK

Tickets for “The Wizard of Oz”, July 17-27 at the Freeport Performing Arts Center, are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18. They will be sold at the door for the July 17, 7 p.m., preview performance and can be purchased at www.fpconline.org, or at the Freeport Community Center. Friday-Saturday performances are at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2.


Stephanie Ross, director of “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens July 17 at the Freeport Performing Arts Center, braids the hair of her daughter, Angela Moline, who is playing the part of Dorothy. Angela Moline poses for photographs in her Dorothy costume, prior to a rehearsal last week for “The Wizard of Oz,” at the Freeport Performing Arts Center. 


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