Ksenia Thurgood is playing Dorothy in Alberta Theatre Projects The Wizard of Oz, and couldn’t be more excited about it. And who wouldn’t be? I think that almost any woman would jump at the chance to don red shoes and hang out with the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion.
“It’s one of the stronger female character roles out there,” she says, when asked about her role as Dorothy, “where this young person has all the strength and all the things she needs inside her, but doesn’t really realize it there until she goes through some challenging circumstances.”
Alberta Theatre Projects is presenting the The Wizard of Oz, The Musical but Thurgood asserts that it’s “more of a play with music than a musical persay.” Though that doesn’t mean that Thurgood isn’t a little intimated by the role, “there is this song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ which is one of the most famous ballads of all time,” she says.
We may have heard of it. “Is that terrifying? Yah,” Thurgood says with a laugh.
But she is backed by an amazing creative team whom she gushes about, including Lily and Tyson, the dogs starring as Toto. “Getting to start you days with kisses from a dog is pretty wicked,” she says, “I think that the dogs will steal the show.” Thurgood is also quick to talk about director Glynis Leyshon. “She’s fantastic,” she says, “we just have a wonderful working relationship. I don’t know if she realizes it, but I learn a lot from her and how she goes about telling a story on stage”.
Thurgood is back at Alberta Theatre Projects for their Christmas show, since last season’s Seussical The Musical in which she played Gertrude. “I’m absolutely honoured to be back here,” she says, “they treat you like family. [Being here] again to do The Wizard of Oz, and to play Dorothy is a real joy.”
“I remember The Wizard of Oz from when I was a child,” she states when asked about her familiarity with the story. “I remember things like the witch being scary and the lion being funny and silly. Watching it again as an adult, it amazes me how much more is there.” Thurgood couldn’t pin down a favourite scene, but she did say that her favourite part about doing the show is “all the heart that is [in it].” She also loves the message that is behind the story, “If you’re with people you care about, that’s all that really matters.”
The Wizard of Oz, The Musical opens at Alberta Theatre Projects this week. Tickets are available online or at the door at atplive.com