“We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz …” The children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was originally published in 1900. It made its way to the stage in a matter of a year or so and was made in to the much loved movie, The Wizard of Oz in 1939.

Now this American favorite is making its way to Fayetteville as NETworks presents “The greatest family musical of all time, The Wizard of Oz” on March 23 at the Crown Theatre. The show prides itself on great special effects including the infamous tornado that carries Dorothy from her 03-17-10-_rubyheels.gifKansas home and over the rainbow to the magical, mystical Land of Oz where she encounters munchkins, fl ying monkeys, and befriends the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow.

Directed by Nigel West and choreographed by Leigh Constantine, the production is art deco through and through, right down to the Technicolor backdrop and elegant costumes designed by Tim McQuillen-Wright.

In an exciting twist, NETworks invited local children to be part of the cast and 12 Fayetteville youngsters will perform as munchkins in the musical, singing memorable and much loved songs like “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.”

Students from the World of Dance Studio will have the opportunity to gain real-life touring theatre experience. They will discover what it’s like to be part of a professional company, learn choreography by Leigh Constantine and be outfi tted in the costume designs of Tim McQuillen-Wright. Children involved in the production include: Maddie Green, Jacquelyn McGaha, Meghan Flynn, Haley Raper, Elise Mahon, Logan Hallas, Savannah Hicks, Lauren Geske, Tatgiuana Parker, Ella Lewis, Johslynn Ebidag and Nia Manning.

According to a March 2009 review of this production in The New York Times “Though the tornado scene is pretty good, and the Wicked Witch fi reballs are startling, the high point of the stage version of The Wizard of Oz at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden is unexpected. It’s “The Jitterbug,” a colorful, somewhat hallucinogenic dance number in which Dorothy and friends are bitten by bugs that make them dance till they drop (allowing fl ying monkeys to carry them away). The abundance of stage gimmickry is another thing that by sheer contrast makes “The Jitterbug” the play’s best moment. The number has no tricks, just the old-fashioned ingredients: colorful costumes (by Tim McQuillen-Wright), witty choreography (Leigh Constantine) and cool lighting (Bob Bonniol). Works every time.”

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 438-4100.

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