The Times West Virginian

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December 19, 2013

‘Wizard of Oz’ performance Saturday

FAIRMONT — The final performance of the West Virginia Public Theatre’s holiday production of the “Wizard of Oz” is set for Saturday at the Metropolitan Theater in Morgantown.

Michael Licata, artistic director of WVPT, said the live performance brings the familiar movie, which first came out 75 years ago, to life.

“‘The Wizard of Oz’ was a brilliant movie,” Licata said. “But the performance on stage is a living, breathing event. The actors interact with each other, and every performance is different. To me, that’s what makes the magic of live theatre wonderful. The audience really becomes a part of the show.” 

Licata said school children have attended daytime performances over the past few weeks, and that it has opened their eyes to what theatre is all about.

“Today, we had 1,600 kids in there,” he said on Wednesday. “What’s wonderful about the school productions is that sometimes, it’s the first time any of these children have seen a theatre production. And what a wonderful way to experience it with a story as great as the ‘Wizard of Oz.’” 

The production has also been open to the public on five occasions, with 7 p.m. Saturday being the last chance to see the performance.

“We’ve been getting really good crowds for it,” he said. “We really target families with this show, especially because ticket prices are very reasonable.” 

Licata added that audience members often get just as involved in the performance as the cast.

“It’s been a wonderful audience,” he said. “We had a little girl come dressed like Dorothy. It’s really adorable.”

According to Licata, WVPT has put on performances of the “Wizard of Oz” in previous years, but this year they added a new spin to it.

“It’s a completely different production than it was the last two times,” he said. “It’s a different cast, and we are also incorporating puppets into the production.”

In addition, the production used to be held at the Creative Arts Center, but moved to the Metropolitan Theater this year.

“It’s a beautifully restored theater,” Licata said.

Licata said the cast members have worked hard preparing for the performance, which has has been delighting all those who have attended the shows.

“It’s a great show with a professional cast from all over the country,” Licata said. “We’re very proud of the show, and we hope we’re developing some new theatre-goers. It’s a great experience.”

Tickets ($24 for adults, $16 for student and $8 for children) for the “Wizard of Oz” are on sale online at www.wvpublictheatre.org, by phone at 302-291-4117 or 877-999-WVPT, or at the box office at 111 High St., Morgantown.

Email Kaylyn Christopher at kchristopher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.

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