Not so wicked

Published 6:40 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Matchbox Children’s Theatre celebrates its 35th anniversary with an alumni comedy production this weekend.

Matchbox veterans present “The Unwicked Witch” Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Paramount Theatre.

This will be the third time the non-profit theater presents the Madge Miller comedy — and former “Unwicked Witch” cast members and other Matchbox alumni will fill the six roles for the encore production to mark the finale of a milestone season.

“The Unwicked Witch” is the tale of Hobble, Gobble, and Wobble — three witches who enjoy an old-fashioned game of tag on their broomsticks. They encounter difficulties – and humorous moments for the audience — when attempting to teach young Winona to be a witch.

Director Janet Anderson, and co-founder of the theater, called the alumni show a dream come true.

“We chose this script because it is so funny and offers a terrific range of opportunities for actors to develop delightful characters,” she said. “It only took a little arm-twisting to put together a great cast and crew.”

Everyone both on stage and behind the scenes this weekend has been involved with Matchbox in the past, Anderson said.

Penny Kinney (Wobble) and Sue Peterson (Gobble) each played witches in the 1992 production.

Lia Culbert (Winona), Cameron Davis (Luke the Lucky), Paul Burger (Sad Simon) and Kinney have all directed Matchbox productions.

Though Matchbox has presented the comedy twice before, audience members don’t have to worry about it becoming stale. There will be fresh takes on music and special effects, Anderson said.

And the production was last staged in 2002 and prior to that in 1979.

John Deyo of ViDeyo Arts, a former Matchbox actor and director, helped with the special effects to “create some theater magic,” Anderson said.

“It’s a thrill for me as the director, and I know our audiences are going to have a great time,” Anderson said. “Get ready to giggle and laugh out loud… a lot!”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 14 and younger. Advance tickets are available at the theater box office, Hy-Vee and Sterling Main Street.

This Matchbox Children’s Theatre production is sponsored by the Cooperative Response Center and in cooperation with the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council.

For more information, go to www.matchboxchildrenstheatre.org.

The Unwicked Witch

a Matchbox Children’s Theatre production

When: 7 p.m., Friday

2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

Where: The Paramount Theatre

125 Fourth Ave. NE

Tickets: $7 for adults, $5 for children 14 and younger

Available in advance at the theater, Hy-Vee and Sterling Main Street