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Actors and Artists of Fayette County bringing 'Oz' to Geyer

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer
Cast members for 'Wizard of Oz' this week at the Geyer Performing Arts Center include in front, Jonathon Rohlf of Brownsville and in back, from left, Mark Fox of Scottdale, Kara Rohlf from Brownsville, Dan Pretz of California and Brett Clark of Masontown

A tale of dreams and adventure, with a wonderful lesson in life, is the story of the forever family favorite “The Wizard of Oz,” which has been entertaining families since its premiere on screen in 1939.

The Actors and Artists of Fayette County will proudly be presenting the musical live on stage this weekend at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.

The talented cast features about 60 members from ages 7 and older, and its lavish scenes and costumes are sure to wow audiences of all ages.

Directors Karen Snyder of Greensburg and Toby Maykuth of Masontown decided the lavish production would be a perfect performance to be featured for the theater's 25th anniversary of its re-opening.

“With it being the 25th anniversary of the theater, I agreed with Brad Geyer (theater board president) that we needed to do some big-name musicals, Snyder said. “Brad had specifically mentioned to me that he wanted someone to do ‘The Wizard of Oz.' I like to do shows that involve children so it seemed like a good fit for me. I also had wanted to do it, because I thought we should do the Royal Shakespeare version which is like the movie.”

The cast has been in rehearsal for months, putting together a stage production that will be fun and entertaining, and with the multi-talented cast, the show is one that will be remembered by theater patrons for years to come.

Almost 100 people auditioned for the production, and the directors are pleased with their choice of characters, blending together a tight group of actors who all work well together, in a show that can deemed as immense.

“Producing a show of this magnitude, even when simplified for a small stage community theater is, at times, overwhelming,” Maykuth said. “The production staff for this show is amazing, and the cast, some of whom have never graced the Geyer stage before, are turning out to be one the most talented groups of peoples I've ever worked with.”

Maykuth added the cast is also working well together, melding to create a fun and believable production for the audiences.

“Watching the relationships grow, especially among the actors portraying Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Cowardly Lion has been a privilege,” Maykuth said.

Snyder agreed the cast is well-meshed and blended.

“The cast is doing well,” Snyder said. “There is a mixture of older and younger people, many of whom are seasoned veterans, and several for whom it is the first time they have done a show at the Geyer. There are 27 adorable Munchkins, and a large ensemble. All of the leads are talented singers and actors and have blended together very well.”

The technical aspect of the show promises to be dazzling, with a “cyclone,” a melting witch and even a flying balloon.

“The show will appeal to all audiences,” Snyder said. “It is a wonderful show for children, whether they've seen the movie or not. I think adults will appreciate the humorous twists we've put on things, and everyone will appreciate the beauty of the sets and costumes, as well as enjoy all the technical things that go on.”

“The Wizard of Oz” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets will be $12 with a special dinner and theater available in conjunction with Miss Martha's Tearoom for $25. For information, call 724-887-0887 or visit the website at

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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