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Saturday, June 3, 2023

North Central College’s summer musical features community actors in ‘The Wizard of Oz’


North Central College’s Summer Musical Theatre presents one of the greatest family musicals of all time, “The Wizard of Oz,” continuing July 6, 7 and 8, featuring some 120 actors from the community.

The next three performances will be staged at 7:30PM July 6 and 7 and a final Sunday matinees at 2PM July 8 in North Central’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. A show will be interpreted in sign for the hearing impaired at 7:30PM Sat., July 7. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.

North Central’s Susan Craig-Olsen, lecturer of theatre, has directed the production and Mac Willaert has provided musical direction.

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This magical production-the Royal Shakespeare Company version based on the 1939 MGM movie-presents the story of Dorothy, her dog Toto and their friends the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow. They are transported “Over the Rainbow” to adventures in Munchkin Land, the Hunted Forest and Emerald City. The entire family will enjoy the journey down the yellow brick road and hearing the classic songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “If I Only Had a Brain.”

“Everyone loves ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ not only because of the fanciful story,” says Craig-Olsen, “but because of the friendship that grows between Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man. And everyone adores Dorothy because she is a typical young teen, who is brave and honest and loves so earnestly. The caliber of actors this year is huge with lots of familiar faces and some newcomers. Come revisit this classic tale and we’ll have some surprises in it for you as well.”

The film “The Wizard of Oz” won three Academy Awards in 1939 for Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart, Best Original Song “Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen for music and E.Y. Harburg for lyrics, and Special Award by Judy Garland, who starred as Dorothy.

The cast of principal roles for “The Wizard of Oz” includes (part: name, hometown):
An additional 106 performers are part of the cast and chorus; some principal roles are double cast. 

Dorothy: Melanie Frewen of Downers Grove

Dorothy: Alex Oechsel of Naperville

Wicked Witch/Gultch: Jennifer Prerost of Naperville

Wicked Witch/Gultch: Patti Shore Kaden of Naperville

Glinda: Heidi Buyck of Woodridge

Wizard/professor: Cody Bergmann of Montgomery

Aunt Em: Maggie Detwiler of Warrenville

Uncle Henry: Tom Paulsen of Wheaton

Lion/Zeke: Chris Oechsel Sr. of Naperville

Scarecrow/Hunk: Chris Oechsel Jr. of Naperville

Tin Man/Hickory: Stuart Vance of Naperville

City Guard: Derek Rippe of Naperville

Winkie General: Dennis Ortman

Nikko: Mark Yacullo of Naperville

“The Wizard of Oz” is the first of three musicals this summer at North Central College. “Princess Ida,” directed by Matt Boresi, will be staged July 10-15, and “South Pacific,” directed by Brian Lynch, will run July 27-29 and Aug. 3-5.

North Central College theaters are just steps from downtown Naperville where  more than 40 air-conditioned eateries can whet any appetite. Think dinner and the show.

This summer production is one of many ongoing programs hosted at North Central College to enrich and broaden the academic and cultural outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of North Central’s new 2012-2013 Fine & Performing Arts Season, art exhibits and other musical and theatrical productions, visitnorthcentralcollege.edu/show or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

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North Central College
North Central Collegehttp://www.northcentralcollege.edu
Founded in 1861, North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. Located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois—rated by Money magazine as among the nation’s “Best Places to Live”—North Central College is just 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop. With more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to learn more.


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