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Community comes together for State production of 'Wizard'

John Benson • May 12, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Want to go?

• WHAT: “The Wizard of Oz”

• WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18-20

• WHERE: Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky   

• COST: $15/adult, $12/children

• INFO: 419-626-1950 or sanduskystate.com

Harry Potter may have ended his wizardry run this summer, but the Sandusky State Theater is reminding us about another “If ever a wonderful Wiz there was” character with its production of family musical “The Wizard of Oz” Aug. 18 through 20 at the venue.

“We’re on the yellow brick road here in Sandusky, and we have a cast of about 70,” said Sandusky State Theatre Executive Director Thomas Kazmierczak, III. “They’re all talented, and all the roles come to life on stage. It’s amazing to see the fairytale brought to life. People have voted this the most beloved and fabled story, movie and musical across the United States. The show is dedicated to the young and the young at heart.”

The traditional production, with a few updates, is part of the Ackerman Family Children’s Theater, which is sponsoring the children’s shows. Under the umbrella of the Sandusky State Theater, the program is designed to encourage local thespians young and old to experience old-fashioned summer stock theater. Earlier this summer the group produced “Aladdin” and “Camp Rock,” with their efforts culminating in “The Wizard of Oz,” which is produced by Kazmierczak and directed by Barb Shaver.

The large cast features Jackie Squires as Dorothy, Adam Beckwith as the Tin Man, Cory Minor as the Lion, TC Bunce as the Scarecrow, Ann Marie Muehlhauser as the Wicked Witch, Jillian Gosser as Glinda and [Sandusky Register Editor] Matt Westerhold as the Wizard.

“It’s a hard production in the fact of bringing to life the over-the-top fairytale to the stage,” Kazmierczak said. “So it’s the effects and the design and costuming to bring it out to the audience. For example, the yellow brick road might come to life. And we had to master the melting of the witch.”

He added the upcoming production is the largest ever for the Sandusky State Theater, which last produced “The Wizard of Oz” two years ago with St. Mary’s Central High School.

When asked who of the four main characters — Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion — he connects with the most, Kazmierczak laughed, “Probably the scarecrow because of the energy and enthusiasm.”

As for clichés describing what audiences leaving the upcoming “The Wizard of Oz” production will feel, Kazmierczak said, “The journey of the yellow brick road always leads to over-the-rainbow.”


What, no “No Place Like Home” reference?


“That’s one of our points too, with the Sandusky Proud organization being something formed to show a positive light on Sandusky,” Kazmierczak said, “And in reality, being a transplant here myself, I’ve discovered there is no place like Sandusky.”


“The Wizard of Oz” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 through 20 at The Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Tickets are $15/adults and $12/children. For more information, call 419-626-1950 or visit www.sanduskystate.com.

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