While the Baton Rouge area may have recently gotten a taste of tornado season, there is still no tornado quite like the one that rips through Kansas, whisking Dorothy and her dog, Toto, away in their house to the magical land of Oz. There they meet some familiar strangers, good and bad witches and even some very friendly little people.
The Manship Theatre will be home to the classic story of munchkins and colorful scenery as the Central Community Theatre presents “The Wizard of Oz.”
The theater group works with children in all grades, and will even feature preschool-aged children as munchkins in the upcoming production.
Artistic director Claire Clinkingbeard said while the students work very hard to put together a show, some of them have also developed full resumes through the community program, and will be going to college soon to either study theater or pursue the art as a continued hobby.
Such is the case with the high school youths who will be playing the age-old friends in Oz — Meghann Sullivan and alternately Nicole Gardana (Dorothy), Christen Cross (Hunk/Scarecrow), Joey Carroll (Hickory/Tin Man) and Thomas Jackson (Zeke/Lion).
“Our leads — our four friends, have all been around for at least three to four years each,” Clinkingbeard said. “Two of them started when we opened and have been in every show ever since.
“Those five kids have worked so hard on the show. They truly have jumped into it and made it their own, have really, really taken on their characters and have worked inside and outside of rehearsal — they have done a really great job at taking it to the next level,” she said.
Clinkingbeard added that the students also have lots of input on what shows will be presented.
“Our high schoolers really wanted something that would be challenging for them,” she said. “It’s been a very fun, very challenging show that’s pushed us in all areas of theater.”
The troupe will be presenting the original production of the show with no directorial changes. However, costuming and scenery will be brighter.
“I think what we’re trying to do with the costumes is take a super colorful approach,” Clinkingbeard said. “All of your leads are going to be your traditional costumes, but we handmade all of the costumes for Munchkin Land and they are full of flowers and bright colors, and just really a lot of fun, and a lot of fun to watch.
“It’s just a fun, family-friendly show. There is a little something for everybody — the music is great, the set is colorful and the costumes are beautiful.”