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'No place like home' | Wizard of Oz comes to Emma Kelly Theater

Shows scheduled for July 22-24 and August 19-21 in downtown Statesboro
During the show’s final dress rehearsal, the Wicked Witch of the West (Brandi Harvey) demands that Glinda (Christie McLendon) hand over the magic ruby slippers worn by Dorothy (Julian Schwarz). Credit: Bobby NeSmith / Grice Connect

Whether you're a good witch or a bad witch, the Averitt Center for the Arts invites you to the Emma Kelly Theater in beautiful downtown Statesboro to experience their production of "The Wizard of Oz".

The show opens tonight, July 22, at 7:00 PM. Matinee performance are scheduled for July 23-24 starting at 3:00 PM. The community theater production is sponsored by Morris Bank and Dabbs, Hickman, Hill, and Cannon, LLP.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here, visiting the theater's Box Office at 33 East Main Street, or by calling (912) 212-2787. Discounts apply for Averitt Center members, active and retired military and first responders, as well as City and County employees.

Adapted from the renowned writings of L. Frank Baum, the stage play features all of your favorite characters from the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film portrayed by a star-studded local cast

"I'm really excited," says director Robert Cottle. "It's one of my favorite shows, and it's been so much fun watching it come to life."

Cottle, along with the entire cast and crew, began preparing for the show in May. Originally slated to open last weekend, performances were unexpectedly delayed by a cast member's exposure to COVID-19. According to a post on the Averitt Center's Facebook page, make-up performances are scheduled for August 19-21.

Normally one for the spotlight, Stage Manager Megan O'Donnell says working on the technical aspects also brings her great joy. "I love the story of 'The Wizard of Oz' and Judy Garland [who portrayed Dorothy in the classic film] was definitely one of my gateways into the world of theatrical arts," she said.

O'Donnell says she is honored to work behind-the-scenes in this production. She credits Cottle, along with fellow technicians Robert Faller and Clint Tootle, with creating a wonderful and memorable experience. "I wouldn't be here without them," she says. "They are the backbone of our show."

Cottle encourages community members to consider taking part in upcoming performances at the Averitt Center. "Theater is for everyone," he says. "There are so many aspects to community theater, including performance and technical roles. We would love for you to come and try out."

'If ever, oh ever, a Wiz there was...'

Check out these photos taken during Thursday's dress rehearsal. Be sure to grab your tickets and experience the magic for yourself as Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion make their fantastical journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the merry ol' land of Oz.