Bluefield College Theatre and Bluefield Youth Theatre at Bluefield College will present the beloved family classic The Wizard of Oz, Thursday through Sunday, April 12-15.
Featuring BC theatre students and a host of local youth, the performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 12-14, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 in BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium. Admission for each performance will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Members of the BC family will be admitted for free.
As the classic story goes, Dorothy Gale, who is being raised by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas in the early 1900s, is swept away by a cyclone. She comes to rest in the enchanted land of Oz, where her house accidentally falls on the Wicked Witch of the East. In Oz, Dorothy is greeted by Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, and the peace-loving Munchkins, who view Dorothy as a liberator who can free them from the Wicked Witch’s thrall.
But things take a turn for the worse when the dead witch’s sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, arrives on the scene to claim her inheritance: her sister’s magical pair of ruby slippers, which Glinda has already given to Dorothy as her due for killing the Witch of the East. This sends the Wicked Witch of the West into a vengeance-seeking rampage. Glinda advises Dorothy that her best chance for safety is to go to the Emerald City and persuade the Wizard of Oz to send her back to Kansas.
Dorothy sets out on a quest to find the Wizard and secure her passage back to Kansas. Along the way, she picks up three companions – the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion. She also encounters a haunted forest, a field full of sleep-inducing poppies, Winkies, flying monkeys, and the sting of the Jitterbug, only to learn she held the power to go home inside herself all along and, the most important lesson of all, “there’s no place like home.”
The Wizard of Oz is based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, published in 1900. The book was adapted for the screen in 1939, resulting in the most well-known version of the story and featuring the immortal Judy Garland as Dorothy. The stage version being presented by Bluefield College is based on the 1939 film with a script adapted by John Kane. The BC production features all the classic songs from the film with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Songs include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.” The BC stage version also features the song and dance number “The Jitterbug,” written for the film, but cut in final editing.
Dorothy in the Bluefield College production is played by Erin Wellman, also known for her leading role as Belle in BC Theatre’s presentation of Beauty and the Beast. The Wicked Witch of the West is played by Carrington Shelton, a frequent member of the BC stage. Sarah Minnix, another BC Theatre veteran, plays the role of Glinda, and Isaac Hodge, a Youth Theatre participant, turned BC Theatre student, fills the role of the Wizard of Oz.
Dorothy’s companions include the Scarecrow, played by Ashley Burton; the Tinman, played by Brian Fisher; and the Cowardly Lion, played by Aaron Sudderth, all three Bluefield College Theatre veterans. Kimberly Turner plays Aunt Em, Andrew Viskup plays Uncle Henry, Ginny Bird plays Miss Gulch, and Luke Huffman, Conor Miller and Alec Church as the farm hands Zeke, Hunk and Hickory.
The mayor of the Munchkin City is played by Zach Bowman, the Munchkin barrister is Noah Munique, and the Munchkin coroner is Claire Fisher. Other cast members include Blair Anderson, Emma Blevins, Michelle Blevins, Zoe Hodge, Elise Jacobs, Sarah Jacobs, Mary Jones, Emma Miller, Haley Ritchie, Myles Munique, Axella Neo, Joselyn Pruitt, Madeline Surles, and Callie Wilkinson.
In addition to the public performances at 7:30 p.m. on April 12-14 and at 3 p.m. on April 15, Bluefield College Theatre will present four student matinees, April 12, 13, 16 and 17 for local schools at reduced prices. The school matinees are open by reservation only and must be arranged by local schools. Teachers or school administrators interested in making reservations or gathering more information should contact the Bluefield College Theatre Department by phone at 276-326-4244 or 276-326-4213 or by email [email protected].