Travel to Oz with Macon Little Theatre production

Telegraph correspondentDecember 6, 2013 

The Scarecrow (Brett Taylor), Dorothy Gale (Alexis Webb), the Tin Man (Anthony B. Harris), and the Lion (Robert Rosengart) arrive at the Emerald City in a scene from Macon Little Theatre’s “The Wizard of Oz.”

A.I. CARTER — For The Telegraph

Macon Little Theatre invites audiences to join them and follow the yellow brick road over the rainbow for the holiday production of “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Alexis Webb as Dorothy and Jim Thigpen as the Wizard.

“It contains all the much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way,” director Sylvia Haynie said.

The cast of 47 seems to be a family affair.

“One of the most fun facts about this group is that half of them are related to others in the cast,” Haynie said.

“We have grandmothers and grandsons, brothers and sisters, parents and children. We love this part of being truly a community theater, where families can spend time together. The Wicked Witch, Lisa Hiland, has four children in the cast, including the mayor of the Munchkins. This is their first time working with me at MLT, and it has been a blast.”

According to Haynie, the play is fairly loyal to the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz,” with a few extras.

“It has a few scenes added -- like the Jitterbug scene. It is loyal to the film, but it is a great experience to see it in the theater and be right there with Dorothy and all of the others,” she said. “We have even lowered the age requirement to 3, because we feel like younger kids are able to sit through some shows and we want families to come out together.”

The play has appeal for people of all ages.

“My mother is the same age as the movie,” Haynie said. “It’s been a part of her entire life, but she gets as excited about the play as a 5 year old. It’s great for the young and the young at heart. If people love the film, but have never seen it live, it is a real treat. It is an homage to the film and to our American culture. It’s a gift to see it for yourself and your family.”

The music is a big draw of this performance, and Haynie said some songs still make her emotional.

“We have a live orchestra that will be tucked back in the corner of the stage. This show is challenging because of the set changes. We have a massive number of set pieces that come and go and are crammed back out of sight. Somehow, we have hidden the orchestra in the back with the set changes,” she said.

“The live music is just special, too. Alexis has a beautiful voice. She has been singing for the show, but I haven’t allowed her to sing “Over the Rainbow” too much. I want it to be fresh every time she sings it, and it still makes me emotional when I do hear it.”

Costumer Emmie Childers has brought the colors of the film to life on stage.

“She is doing an incredible job. She has built many of the costumes. She sat down at her sewing machine and has built a really beautiful show. The brightness and colors that made this film so famous are shining through in her work,” Haynie said.

“The Wizard of Oz”

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 11-14; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15

Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road

Cost: $18 adults, $15 senior citizens, $10 students ages 5-23. No children younger than 3 years old are allowed; group rates are available

Information: 478-471-PLAY;

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