Horsham's Alex Rathgeber prepares for The Wizard of Oz in Sydney | Video

CAST: The Wizard of Oz cast Eli Cooper, as the Scarcrow, Samantha Dodemaide as Dorothy, Alex Rathgeber, as the Tin Man and John Xintavelonis as the Lion. Picture:  tash@sabistudios.com.au via the Sydney Morning Herald
CAST: The Wizard of Oz cast Eli Cooper, as the Scarcrow, Samantha Dodemaide as Dorothy, Alex Rathgeber, as the Tin Man and John Xintavelonis as the Lion. Picture: tash@sabistudios.com.au via the Sydney Morning Herald

HORSHAM Arts Council former member Alex Rathgeber has gone from strength to strength, as he prepares to play the Tin Man in the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz.

The show, which has already completed a run in Brisbane, will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Saturday.

It comes after a big month for Rathgeber, who also had his first experience at a national Christmas carols concert, performing at Sydney’s Carols in the Domain on December 17.

Rathgeber started rehearsals for Sydney’s The Wizard of Oz run on Thursday.

“We have our first show on Saturday night, before the official opening next week,” he said. 

“It was nice to have a few weeks of rest and recovery after the Brisbane season.”

Rathgeber said his role as the Tin Man was intense, but enjoyable.

“I sweat up a storm being a big tin can,” he said.

“My costume is tricky to manoeuvre and gets very hot because I have a full bodysuit underneath the tin.

“It's quite restrictive, too – it took me a while to figure out how to tap dance in it.

“It’s a highly physical and energetic show.”

Rathgeber said he never imagined what it would be like to play the Tin Man.

“It’s really proven to be a wonderful experience and a real blessing so far,” he said.

“Although he is looking for a heart, he discovers that he has one of the biggest hearts of the lot. He has a heightened level of sensitivity and it’s a special role to play.”

Rathgeber said the cast was thrilled with the feedback from Brisbane.

“To have so many people come to the stage door to meet us and thank us after each performance, really shows how much people are enjoying it,” he said.

“We had hundreds of children and their parents come to meet the characters we play.”

Rathgeber said it was nice to be back at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.

“I had one of my first gigs there with Fiddler on the Roof,” he said. 

”I also did The Boy from Oz there, so it’s always nice to return and see familiar faces backstage.”

The Wizard of Oz cast performed at Sydney’s Carols in the Domain last month.

CAROLS: Alex Rathgeber with Santa at Sydney's Carols in the Domain.

CAROLS: Alex Rathgeber with Santa at Sydney's Carols in the Domain.

“It was my first experience at a big carols event and it was just magical stepping onto that stage – it sounds like a cliche but it’s true,” Rathgeber said

“I’m a big fan of Christmas and the event was so festive.”

Rathgeber said he would love to return to Horsham one year to be part of the city’s Carols by Candlelight.

“I’ve been asked to be part of Horsham carols in the past but work has precluded me from being involved and I regret that I haven’t had the opportunity yet,” he said.

“When I do get the chance though, I will be there with bells on.”

Rathgeber said he loved keeping up to date with theatre news from the Wimmera.

“I enjoy keeping in touch through social media with what’s going on in Horsham,” he said.

“I’ve been following the success of Horsham Arts Council’s production of Rent, along with Carols by Candlelight.

“I love hearing that there is so much great theatre opportunities happening in the new performing arts centre – it’s makes me really proud to be from Horsham.”

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