Work is underway for Shuswap Theatre’s upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz, and musical consultant Jim Johnston and assistant director Astrid Varnes are seeking musicians to provide musical accompaniment to the play.

Musicians wanted to play adventurous travellers along yellow brick road

Shuswap Theatre looking for artists to provide musical accompaniment for The Wizard of Oz

Barb Brouwer


Shuswap Theatre is looking for artists who would like to provide musical accompaniment to Dorothy as she and her friends travel the Yellow Brick Road.

Excitement is growing as preparations are underway for The Wizard of Oz, which will run weekends from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8

Design meetings are underway, well-known director James Fagan Tait is designing the set and has begun working with a lighting designer, technical producer and costume designers.

A musical team has been assembled and includes vocal coach Jennifer Parker, musical consultant Jim Johnston and arranger Craig Newnes.

The team is looking for both rehearsal pianists and musicians to be onstage for the duration of the show to accompany actors as they sing, and provide scoring.

Assistant director Astrid Varnes says a couple more rehearsal pianists are required to work with Parker as she teaches the actors production numbers.

These pianists will be required to commit to two rehearsals per week from the last week of September through to November. Rehearsals will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Read more: Roots and Blues gets great reviews plus accessibility suggestions

Read more: Word on the Street: Festivalgoers at the 27th annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Read more: Lion, Scarecrow, flying monkeys and more needed for journey down yellow brick road

“We can be flexible around people’s schedules,” says Varnes.

On-stage, Tait and Varnes are thinking along the lines of a quartet composed of bass, guitar, strings and keyboard.

“We are also considering accordion, flute, and clarinet, among others,” she says. “Multi-instrumentalists are especially invited to express their interest.”

Varnes assures the music will be simple and pared-down, with all the recognizable melodies intact.

“We want to feature the heart of the story, so the songs are not big Broadway showstoppers, but rather sincere thoughts for the characters.”

The production also requires a band leader to co-ordinate with Parker and Tait. Johnston has agreed to provide support to the band leader if needed.

The on-stage band will likely meet on their own two or three times in October to familiarize themselves with the music and will integrate into rehearsals in early November.

“Auditions were great; we had more than 50 people show up, many of them new folks who have never been with Shuswap Theatre before,” says Varnes, noting she would like to have the same thing happen with area musicians. “We want to make sure we’re attracting new people. That makes us stay relevant and represent the community.”

Deadline to express interest is Sept 12, with musician auditions taking place immediately thereafter. Questions or expressions of interest can be directed to assistant director Astrid Varnes at


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm Golf Club sold to consolidator GolfNorth Properties

Decision to sell unanimously approved by club’s board of directors

Shuswap Community Foundation grants support youth projects

Karen Angove Endowment Fund to benefit Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society

Shuswap resident seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Radon levels in new Salmon Arm home a concern

Real-time monitoring shows radon concentration just within federally accepted guideline

Salmon Arm family doctor shortage putting health-care needs at risk

City clinics report having long wait lists, not accepting new patients

Gym enthusiasts invited to get in gear for kids

Spin4Kids Saturday at GoodLife Fitness

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Malakwa woman still in the running for winning American baking show

Janet Letendre is the only Canadian competing on the Holiday Baking Championship

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

New Okanagan resident building skills and community

The Respect Works Here November Multicultural Community Champion

Salmon Arm businesses tipped off to Black Press advantage

Black Press Media hosts day of presentations for local business representatives

Larch Hills Nordic Society welcomes new operations manager

Karen Tanchak looking forward to working with volunteer executive, greeting cross-country skiers

Salmon Arm Silverbacks return to top spot in Interior Division

Wednesday night’s game ends in 4-3 loss for Penticton Vees

Most Read