Seventy-five years after first mesmerizing audiences, MGM’s beloved movie musical classic, The Wizard of Oz, is still one of the most popular films of all time.
On February 7-23, Ephrata Performing Arts Center is putting the equally popular stage adaptation of this treasured work into the hands of the very audience that made it a sensation in the first place, kids from 6 to 16.
EPAC’s annual Kids4Kids production is a Young Performers Edition of the great musical adventure, shortened to 90 minutes but including all of the film’s Academy Award-winning songs.
Some 60 budding young talents – some of them already seasoned EPAC veterans – will be journeying “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the intimate Sharadin Bigler Theatre stage, bringing to life all of the characters and fantastical creatures that Dorothy encounters along the fabled Yellow Brick Road as she tries to find her way back home to Kansas: witches, flying monkeys, munchkins, and even a mysterious wizard.
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Playing leading roles are Meredith Fox as Dorothy; Bailey Ammons as Uncle Henry; Hanna Appel as Miss Gulch; Joshua Battisti as Hunk/Scarecrow, Steven Gagliano as Zeke/Cowardly Lion; Emily Heisler as Aunt Em; Maegan Seaman as the Witch; Jimmy Shiffer as Hickory/Tin Man; MJ Stone as Professor/Wizard and Rebecca Voler as Glinda.
The huge cast, which hails from Lancaster, Berks, York, and Dauphin counties, is being directed and choreographed by Irving Gonzalez, who previously brought Kids4Kids audiences to their feet at the helm of Beauty & the Beast Jr. and Annie Jr. as well as a 2013 hit cabaret celebrating EPAC’s stars of tomorrow.
“Being this is my third year, I have seen such a growth in our Kids4Kids series,” Gonzalez exclaimed. “It is evident by the many sold out performances, the on-going support of sponsors, and parents who volunteer their time, and the kids’ own reaction that we have definitely stumbled into something wonderful. There is obviously a need for the Kids4Kids series to continue as part of the EPAC season.”
Gonzalez also hailed the ongoing support of the EPAC staff including Evan Cooper, his returning stage manager; vocal director Erin Brubaker, assistant choreographer Travis Love, Jenn Farrington (costumer and parent liaison), Maylan Thomas (scenic designer), Jeff Cusano (lighting designer), and Karen Getz (prop mistress).
Bring the entire family to this EPAC delight and you may find that the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true!
Wizard of Oz: Young Performers Edition will be presented at 7:30 PM Fridays, February 7, 14 and 21; 2 PM Saturdays and Sundays, February 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 12 and under. Reserve seating online or by calling (717) 733-7966.