WINNSBORO — They’re not in Kansas. In fact, they’re in Winnsboro and the summer musical “Oz!”, which includes many famous L. Frank Baum inspired characters, is coming to Pine Tree Playhouse.
“I’ve done a fair number of shows over the years,” said director Matthew Swanson. “This will be the second time in three years we’ve done a summer musical for the children.”
Swanson said it’s been fun to direct and prepare the cast of 22 — 21 adolescents and children plus one adult.
“We’ve got a real adult playing Aunt Em,” he said, adding the young performers seem to be enjoying preparing for the production. “They seem to be having a ball.”
Swanson said most of the children are aware of the musical’s source material, but the 1939 film starring Judy Garland is not universally known by the young cast.
“You’d be surprised how many have not seen the original movie,” Swanson said. “They know the story.”
The cast has been rehearsing since June 1, and Swanson said the young performers have been quick learners.
“The fun thing about kids is they learn a whole lot faster than adults,” Swanson said.
Swanson said this was particularly commendable, because “Oz!” is slightly longer than a typical children’s musical.
“This one was probably written for a high school,” Swanson said. “There’s more lines than they’d normally have to memorize.”
Andrew Garner, 17, who plays the Tin Woodsman, is one of the production’s older cast members and said the amount of dialogue is challenging.
“I’m not usually a main character,” Garner said.
Samantha Scott, 14, who plays the Scarecrow, cited a different onerous obstacle. “This costume drives me nuts,” Scott said.
Both Scott and Garner said they are enjoying preparing for the musical.
Swanson said an even greater amount of enthusiasm is observable in the youngest cast members who rehearse with reckless abandon.
“I’ll tell you, they really fly around with it,” Swanson said. “They love it.”
Show dates are July 31, Aug. 1, Aug. 7 and Aug. 8 at 8 p.m., and Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 at 3 p.m. Call 803-635-6847 for tickets. All seats are $10.
The cast includes:
• Brinson Baker, age 9: BOQ, a Poppy, an Emerald City Citizen
• Lillian Branham, age 8: Poppy One, Munchkin Three, an Emerald City Citizen
• Annarosa Cardona, age 9: LOQ, a Poppy, an Emerald City Citizen
• Margaret Cathcart, age 16: Dorothy
• Thomas Few, age 14: Cowardly Lion
• Andrew Garner, age 17: Tin Woodsman
• Madelynne Garner, age 14: Wicked Witch of the East
• Lily Hawkins, age 9: Winged Monkey One
• Roman Hawkins, age 8: Fighting Tree One, an Emerald City Citizen
• Emily Hipp, age 8: Poppy Two, Munchkin Two, an Emerald City Citizen
• Mattie Hipp, age 8: TOQ, a Poppy, an Emerald City Citizen
• Alexis Montgomery, age 4: Toto
• Nate Moore, age 13: Guardian of the Gate One
• Chandler Mount, age 10: Guardian of the Gate Two
• Emily O’Connor, age 10: Winged Monkey Two
• Robert O’Connor, age 17: The Great and Powerful OZ
• Sara Pullen, age 10: China Princess, an Emerald City Citizen
• Samantha Scott, age 14: Scarecrow
• Abigail Shaw, age 9: Munchkin One, a Poppy, an Emerald City Citizen
• Jakayla Thompson, age 16: Glinda the Good
• Sam Cathcart: Fighting Tree 2, an Emerald City Citizen
• Dee Pullen: Aunt Em