Follow the Yellow Brick road to Beach Schmidt this weekend for ‘The Wizard of Oz’

BY ALICIA FEYERHERM

Hays Community Theater will be performing “The Wizard of Oz” this weekend in the Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

“It’s amazing that we’ve been around this long and have not done ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as a community theater,” President of the Hays Community Theater Board Travis Grizzell said.

After all, “The Wizard of Oz” is a big part of Kansas culture.

“This is our show,” Grizzell said. “It’s Kansas, you know, it’s our fairy tale.”

Even for those outside of Kansas, “The Wizard of Oz”  still appeals to a large audience.

“It’s timeless,” Grizzell said. “The older people will remember it. The kids will love it and they’re exposed to it maybe for the first time.”

This production also supports members of the community – something not showcased at professional shows.

“You go to a Broadway show, you’re seeing professional actors, but here you’re getting an English teacher, a plumber, a college student and a fourth-grader,” Grizzell said. 

Even though the cast does not have the same level of experience as Broadway performers, everyone gets the same script.

“We’re charged with somehow pulling off the same show as the best in the world and we usually do pretty darn good, “Grizzell said.

Grizzell thanks the tech crew at Beach Schmidt for helping with the special effects.

“We can do some things with lighting and projections that we weren’t able to do 15 years ago when I started,” Grizzell said. 

 “The Wizard of Oz” also provides flexibility in casting numbers.

“You can put as many Munchkins and Winkies and Emerald City people as you want so a lot of the community can be involved,” Grizzell said. 

This includes members of the HCT Board of Directors.

“The entire board but one will be on stage at some point,” Director Wendy Richmeier said. “One will be doing behind-the-scenes work, but they are all involved.”

For Grizzell, this means doubling as Board President and the Cowardly Lion.

“Come get your tickets and watch me sweat on stage,” Grizzell said.

Richmeier and the cast have worked very hard producing the show, and this will be the community theater’s first show back at Beach Schmidt since the pandemic.

“COVID really took a hit, especially for things like community theater,” Richmeier said. “This show gives local talent the opportunity to come back into the theater and get back on stage which is very exciting.”

Tickets for the show can be purchased at hctks.com or at the door. Curtain is at 7:00 tonight, Friday, and Saturday. 

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