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‘The Wizard of Oz’ opens tonight

FARMINGTON — Today marks opening night of Mineral Area College’s spring musical, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Rick Giles, who is directing the musical, said “The Wizard of Oz” is a show that is so ingrained as part of American culture.

“It sold out a week in advance,” Giles said. “People are obviously excited about seeing it.”

Tickets for permanent seats have been sold out. However, tickets will still be available at the door because overflow seating is available. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $2 for MAC students/faculty and senior citizens.

“It’s first-come, first-serve on overflow seats,” Giles said. “We hope everyone will be able to get into the theater for the show.”

Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 every night in the Farmington Centene Center. In addition, a matinee performance will be held Saturday at 2 p.m.

MAC student Amanda Wills landed the lead role of Dorothy Gale.

Wills said just about everyone who auditioned wanted to be Dorothy and she was ecstatic that she got the part. She said it is fun to play a girl who becomes so bright-eyed when something new happens.

Wills said she has been reviewing her lines every day as well as attending rehearsals four hours a day.

“We are ready to put it on and we are excited for people to see it,” she said.

MAC student Emily Francisco will be playing the villain — the wicked witch.

Francisco said the wicked witch is the old woman everyone despises. She said she plays a slightly more insane witch than the witch in the movie but “its the lines” not her.

Francisco and Jason Carr, who plays the cowardly lion, are both excited about the larger than usual crowd.

“We will have twice the crowd we have (at the community center),” Carr said. “How cool is that.”

Carr wasn’t originally cast for the role but the original actor had to bow out.

“If I would have auditioned this would have been the role I wanted,” Carr said.

Tony Boyd plays the Wizard of Oz and Professor Marvel.

When asked about his characters, Boyd said, “Basically I’m never who I say I am.”

Boyd said he is glad he got to be the wizard even though he originally wanted to be the tinman.

“The whole play is named after me,” he said. “You can’t go wrong with that.”

Giles said everyone has been so excited about the show. There are 25 scenes in the play and 105 people in the cast.

“They are an upbeat, happy cast,” Giles said. “It is just a joy to come to rehearsals.”

A broken arm hasn’t kept Briar Hartrup, the Fiddler, from rehearsing night after night. Briar broke her arm two weeks ago while doing a backhand spring during dance class.

“We were back the next play practice with a cast,” her mother, Kristin Hartrup said.

Grandma had to take the sleeve off and add more material to make room for her cast. Of course, that was before the doctor told them the cast could come off on opening day. They are hoping this will be the last alteration to be made.

The cast has been rehearsing for six weeks. With all of her children in the musical, Dawn Aubertin has been at rehearsals every night.

Aubertin said her children are having a blast and they learned their parts very fast.

“Their choreographer (Sarah Boyer) was fantastic,” Aubertin said. “She was so patient with the kids.”

Giles believes the munchkins will be a hit with the audience. Even with 300 people working on the show, he believes all the people will remember is how adorable the munchkins were.

And how could the audience forget Toto.

Five-year-old Sophie Beyer (the coroner’s little sister) will be playing Dorothy’s dog.

“She is having tons of fun,” her mother, Michelle said. “She loves it. Every night she will ask, ‘do we have play practice tonight?'”

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