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Topeka Magazine


Summer’ 12 |


Michelle De La Isla as Dorothy



PLOT After starting her career as an insurance company actuary, Dorothy Munoz takes a buyout to open a small bakery that makes bicycle deliveries to customers and residences within a three-mile radius. Recently divorced, Dorothy forgoes her helmet during a three-block muffin delivery so she won’t flatten her hair in anticipation of an internet speed dating event that night at Glinda’s Martini Bar. She takes a bad spill, lands on her head and suffers amnesia. Later at Glinda’s, she encounters a charming male nurse training for a Habitat for Humanity charity bike ride who comes to her rescue. “Spokes fly” as they work together to rebuild Dorothy’s memory.

PLOT Following repeated combat deployments, Air Force pilot Dorothy Airhart returns to Topeka where she forges an unlikely friendship with a cantankerous Korean War veteran and joins his long-odds team in a round-the-world vintage airplane race.

ALSO APPEARING THE TIN MAN The hopelessly heartsick scrap metal supplier who makes personal deliveries to Dorothy’s shop each week not only to enjoy the Emerald City’s best Danish but also to dish with Dorothy about local happenings. THE “MUNCHKIN” Dorothy’s petite, perky loyal friend who earned her nickname during her college days with Dorothy at Washburn University where the duo spent afternoons studying and evenings dancing at retro-disco clubs followed by late-night doughnut hole runs. THE LION Dorothy’s first husband and the pony-tailed lead singer for the Judy Garland Band, a popular opening act for casino headliners, who hopes Dorothy’s amnesia will work in tandem with his recent sobriety to win her back. OVER THE RAINBOW Dorothy’s still-in-the-works signature multicolored coffee cake ring combining the best of Mexican and American baking traditions and liberal amounts of cinnamon.


ALSO APPEARING THE WIZARD Patrick “The Wiz” O’Reilly, a decorated Korean War pilot famous for offending everyone equally at veterans’ events and rare family gatherings. But in Dorothy, he finds for the first time a friend and a pilot who is his equal in skill, gumption and Guinness consumption. TORNADO Dorothy’s nickname for their high-mileage, dented World War II vintage plane, awash in Mars candy bar wrappers, Fritos bags and heavily highlighted books on Irish history. OVER THE RAINBOW How Dorothy feels when she flies, unfettered by her emotional burdens. SCARECROW The farmland icon that Dorothy focuses on whenever a flight faces enemy fire or engine trouble. OZ A potent veggie, fruit and herb concoction Dorothy buys at the Downtown Topeka Farmers Market and spikes with a liberal shot of Irish whiskey to toast with the Wizard as they head off on what might be a fool’s mission, a brave venture or both.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Hair and styling courtesy Francie Worthing, Salon 808 (Sing, My Pretty) and Victoria Benson, Victoria’s (A Gardener’s Tale). Location courtesy Gary Gilbert (Dorothy’s Back), The Edge at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (Sing, My Pretty), Topeka Combat Air Museum (Fear of Flying), Absolute Tattoo (The Girl with the Flying Monkey Tattoo) and the Steinkuehler family (A Gardener’s Tale). Costuming courtesy Tony Naylor and the Washburn University Theatre Department (Sing, My Pretty). Location styling by Shelly Bryant.

Sing, My Pretty GENRE: MUSICAL DRAMA PLOT Disenchanted with the Austin music scene, aspiring songwriter Dorothy Prescott finds purpose and passion in the Emerald City by renovating an empty Kansas Avenue storefront into a nightclub, Ruby’s. Using reclaimed lumber and recycled materials culled from disaster sites and demolished buildings, the plucky songstress rebuilds her life and finds her voice.

ALSO APPEARING THE TIN MAN The heartless, taciturn backup vocalist who can rock an audience but has a tin ear when it comes to realizing that Dorothy has a crush on him. TORNADO A legendary, brooding mandolin player with a dark past who is charmed and intrigued enough by Dorothy to come out of retirement and storm the stage. GLINDA, THE GOOD WITCH The banker who loans Dorothy the money to make the storefront transformation possible, her own early aspirations rekindled as she sifts through a trunk full of scrawled song lyrics about heartbreak and hope, pondering whether collaboration could be possible. TOTO Dorothy’s best friend from high school, Tonette Totelli, a broadcast journalist known for her big heart and bigger hair, who introduces Dorothy around town to create buzz for the project. SCARECROW An anonymous investor who buys the properties flanking Ruby’s, but is the investor betting for or against Dorothy’s establishment’s success?


The Girl

with the Flying Monkey Tattoo

GENRE: THRILLER PLOT When a disgruntled state IT employee with the handle of “the Wizard” plots to crash the entire computer system of state revenue records, authorities turn to a young, impish rogue hacker to safeguard the treasure trove of information. But the fiercely independent single mother has plans of her own …

ALSO APPEARING THE LION Dorothy’s tattoo artist and silent business partner who bankrolled Dorothy past the first crucial, Ramen-noodles year of business and transforms the milestones of her life into skin art. CYCLONE The virus set to bring down the state’s computer systems. TOTO The prototype internet search engine that Dorothy developed during her junior year of high school that she recodes as “Toto, Fetch!” to track down and disable Cyclone. THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD Dorothy’s circuitous, highly secretive, global route of connections that allows her to move undetected into tightly guarded computer systems … leaving mysterious, windfall deposits in the accounts of the local women’s shelter and other organizations that she supports.



Gardener's tale GENRE: FAMILY DRAMA PLOT A married, harried mother of three and grandmother of seven, Dorothy Bennett receives a financial windfall and quits her Department of Commerce job to develop cosmetics and custom scents using sunflowers and snapdragons raised in her expansive home garden. As her business begins to bloom, she is dealt her greatest challenge—a rare diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

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ALSO APPEARING THE WIZARD A retired botanist who helps Dorothy perfect an emerald-green beauty balm cream that garners a segment on Sunflower Journeys and a feature story in O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine. Unknown to Dorothy, he is now working nonstop to research and develop herbal remedies for Dorothy’s disease.

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1520 SE 10th | 785-232-2916 ZZZGHEDFNHUVLQFFRP

Define Your Smile.

THE LION Dorothy’s husband, who would have preferred to funnel his wife’s windfall into buying a boat for family outings at Lake Sherwood and who struggles to emulate his wife’s courage in facing her diagnosis and preparing their family for a future without her. MUNCHKINS The neighborhood kids who keep Dorothy’s spirits up with hugs, humor and enthusiastic—if not always effective—gardening assistance.

You deserve the beautiful smile that you have always wanted. The office of Dr. Michael Michel is ideally suited for patients with significant dental needs. What we do best is help patients who are afraid of losing their teeth, embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth, disappointed in their ability to chew or speak, or who have fear related to dental care.

TORNADO The laid-off, fifty-something medical clinic manager turned housekeeper who furiously unleashes midlife frustration on all the hard surfaces in Dorothy’s home but has a soft spot for her employer, freely dispatching marketing and personal advice along with the dust bunnies.

Providing complete dental care for the whole family!

THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST A bored, embittered former fashion model from the East Coast married to a local attorney who befriends Dorothy at a hot yoga class, intrigued by her game-face gumption and gingham scarves.

Whitening and Cosmetic services available

785-273-0801 57

Michael E. Michel, DDS, PA 2951 SW Wanamaker Dr ive Topeka, Kansas Email w w

Dorothy's Back!  

Topeka Magazine's peer-selected best article of the year (writer award) for 2011-12.