The timeless classic first brought to life by Judy Garland, will soon grace the stage of the newly created Performing Arts Center at Grove High School.
The musical, The Wizard of Oz, will serve as the inaugural production which combines both drama and music, for the facility.
It gets underway with three public performances: 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 24, and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 25.
All performances are general admission. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available for advance purchase with cash or check through tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Grove Public School's Administration Building at the corner of Fourth and Broadway, Grove.
The remaining tickets will be sold prior to each performance, also cash or check only, at the PAC Box office. The box office opens at least one hour prior to the show.
Led by a team of four instructors: Jeffrey Haynes, Vera Yirsa, Andre Jones and Amanda Pollan, the production combines students from pre-kindergarten, all the way through high school.
"I've been obsessed with this show since I was 4 or 5 years old," Haynes said. "It is timeless, with a message of friendship and camaraderie.
"As the first show in the PAC, it is a technically difficult show, so it will showcase our students artistic and technical talents."
Hanna Glasgow serves as Dorothy Gale, while the other principal cast members include John Crawford as the Wizard of Oz, Luke Perkins as the Scarecrow, Eli Radabaugh as the Tin Man, Ryan Riley as the Cowardly Lion, Riley DuBois as the Wicked Witch of the West, Hayley Dozier as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, Jones as Uncle Henry and Emily Rice as Auntie Em.
Haynes said each cast member brings numerous characteristics to the production.
He said Glasgow brings an innocence and lovability to the role of Dorothy Gale, while Perkins comes as a triple threat - combining singing, dancing and acting skills into one package.
Crawford, as the Wizard of Oz, brings a sense of humor, Haynes said, which is evident in his cast bio, which states he enjoys the role because it lets him "insult the scarecrow."
Two cast members, Radabaugh and Riley, bring characteristics which help make their characters shine, Haynes said, including Radabaugh's "steadfast heart" in the role of the Tin Man, and Riley's willingness to "step out of his comfort zone with a lot of will and courage," as the Cowardly Lion.
Appearing as the combination of good and evil are Hayley Dozier as Glinda The Good Witch of the North and Riley DuBois as the Wicked Witch of the West
"Hayley is extremely talented," Hayes said. "She's very wise beyond her years. Glinda is the sage who sends Dorothy on her adventure and Hayley translates that very well in her character."
"Riley has always been obsessed with the musical Wicked," Haynes said. "I think playing the Wicked Witch of the West has been a dream come true."
Rice rounds out the principal cast as Auntie Em. Haynes said, like Rice, Auntie Em is a driven person, who interacts with a multitude of the characters in a variety of ways.
Haynes said he's proud of the work his cast and crew have accomplished, to bring this musical to life.
"Our wonderful and talented actors, singers and dancers have worked incredibly hard to bring this tale of awe and wonder [to the production]," Haynes said. "I’m also very proud of the production team, who despite the time, money and other constraints of a school production, has created sets, special effects, costumes and props, that make the 'magic' of the theatre come to life."
Ultimately, Haynes said he could not have brought the production to Grove without the help of Yirsa, Jones and Pollan.
"Vera has more than 44 years in education," Haynes said. "I couldn't ask for a better mentor or friend to embark on this journey with me.
"Andre brings vocal talents and a coachability that comes in really handy getting all of the voices on the same page."
Haynes said Jones even stepped into two roles - that of Uncle Henry and as an Emerald City Guard - when those cast in the roles were unable to remain the production.
As for Pollan, Haynes said she has stepped up, helping to "take charge" of numerous things, including the younger students who comprise Munchkin Land.
"She brings an energy and enthusiasm to the performance," Haynes said.
A few surprises await audience members, including at least one cameo within the Emerald City Ozians by Grove Superintendent Sandy Coaly.
"I hope people walk away with a sense of love and comradery," Haynes said. "I hope they get a sense that some of the best things in life, they don't have go go out looking for, they already have it within."
One cast member, Layla "Toto" Haynes even found a new home because of this production.
Haynes and his wife, Kristy, adopted Layla, while they were searching for the perfect Toto to pair with Dorothy Gale.
Layla found her "forever home" Haynes said, and has brought a sense of fun to the stage - which multiple cast members, as well as "Toto Caretaker" Liddy Thompson, taking care of her behind the scenes.
"This is a rare show that is both enjoyable for adults and children. This timeless story of love and friendship inspires and delights the child within all of us," Haynes said. "[I'm thankful for those] who came together around this production and showed me the love and support that can only be felt through the fine arts. I couldn’t have done it without [them]."
Meet the Cast
Dorothy Gale;Hanna Glasgow
Professor Marvel/The Wizard of Oz;John Crawford
Hickory/Tin Man;Eli Radabaugh
Zeke/The Cowardly Lion;Ryan Riley
Mrs. Gultch/The Wicked Witch of the West;Riley DuBois
Glinda, The Good Witch of the North;Hayley Dozier
Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard;Andre Jones
Auntie Em;Emily Rice
Nikko, Leader of the Flying Monkeys;Jaece Spicer
Dance Captain/Lead Jitterbug;Danelle Norris
Crow #1/Ensemble;Josie Glasgow
Crow #2/Ensemble; Vydelya Jones
Crow #3/Ensemble;Jaece Spicer
Tree #1/Ensemble;Olivia Thomas
Tree #2/Ensemble;Danica Rowe
Tree #3/Ensemble;Nyah Tellez
Ozian #1;Emma Hilliard
Ozian #2;Myah Cearley
Ozian #3;Jaece Spicer
Ozian #4;Madi Payne
Haunted Tree;Kenny Wright
Winkie General;Skylur Davidson
Toto;Layla “Toto” Haynes
Jitterbug & Snowflake Dancers
Emerald City (Ozians)
Emerald City Tap Dancers
Emmanuel Crawford Hunter Hankins
City Father #1—Daniel Poroj
City Father #2—Camdon Bartley
School Teacher—Rowan Geer