THOMASVILLE — Follow Thomasville’s brick road straight to the Municipal Auditorium where South Georgia Ballet and South Georgia Ballet Conservatory will proudly present “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday and Saturday.
The ballet, jazz and tap production retells the original L. Frank Baum story that has enthralled generations. It is a timeless story for all ages about the power of friendship, self-confidence and family.
The story opens on Dorothy’s Kansas farm she calls home. Dorothy, danced by Rachel Willis, is whirled away from Kansas in a tornado thatincludes some very surprising technical effects. After landing in Munchkinland, Dorothy is greeted by Glinda the Good Witch, danced by Ali Hall, along with a host of munchkins. As Dorothy embarks on an adventure to the Emerald City, she and Toto (Jewell Grace Gammill) meet a jovial group of friendsm including the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, played by Elizabeth Oglesby, Aubrey Brinkley and Taylor Harrison, respectively. Each is in search of something different: a brain, a heart, courage and home.
Of course, the ballet would not be complete without the frightening Wicked Witch and her creepy Flying Monkeys. Maria Dunbar will dance the role of the Wicked Witch, making her surprise appearances when the audience least expects her. Along the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy and friends will also encounter crows, poppies, snowflakes, jitterbugs, rainbows and flying monkeys. When they finally reach Emerald City, Dorothy and her friends are met by a town full of Ozians and ultimately meet the Wizard.
The production will feature newly designed hi-tech backdrops, including the brightly colored Munchkinland, the ominous witch’s castle and a dazzling Emerald City. Additionally, new technical surprises will keep the audience on the edge of its seats. Also adding to the visual delights, SGB’s team of seamstresses, led by Kim Wimberly and Sarah Daniel, have created elaborately detailed costumes.
Melissa June, SGB co-artistic director, said, “Audiences will love our new direction of this timeless tale. We wanted to maintain the integrity of this classic story while adding exciting new elements through production and costuming. I am so proud of the dancers and their ability to tell the story through beautiful artistry and technical virtuosity.”
The audience may know how Dorothy and her friends will combat the Wicked Witch, but seeing the story unfold through the beauty, grace and athleticism of dance will be a new experience and a real treat for young and old alike.
In addition, members of SGB’s company will also delight the audience with classic ballet dances in its International Ballet Tour immediately preceding The Wizard of Oz. The ballerinas will showcase masterpieces from the USA, Spain, China and Italy, highlighting SGB’s exceptional training in classical ballet.
South Georgia Ballet graduating seniors include Willis, Ali Hall and Oglesby, all of Thomasville and Brianna Hayes and Taylor Harrison of Cairo.
Performances will be held at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. A modified performance that includes SGBC’s youngest dancers will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m.
For tickets or more information, visit www.southgeorgiaballet.org or call 229-378-ARTS(2787). Tickets may be purchased at the SGB office located in the Thomasville Center for the Arts, Room 307 or by visiting the Box Office located in the Thomasville Visitors Center. The Box Office will be open beginning today from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Ticket prices range from $8-$15.