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‘Wizard of Oz’ first show at new venue

First Posted: 7:03 am - June 26th, 2015

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As the Wicked Witch of the West, Mallory Thrash said she has scared some children in the cast ‘by accident.’

Eden Johnson, Natalie Moses, Millie Symbula, Autumn Bott and Kasey Miesowitz wait for their turn to rehearse the Munchkin roles.

The ‘jitterbugs’ practice their dance.

NUREMBERG — While teenage “jitterbugs” practiced their dance onstage, five younger cast members waited their turn to rehearse.

“We get to do a lot of fun things,” Eden Johnson, 9, of Nuremberg said, looking up from a computer game.

“Yeah, we have to talk like this,” said Autumn Bott, 10, of Weston, pinching her nostrils with her finger to emphasize that high-pitched Munchkin sound.

OK, if there are Munchkins, this must be “The Wizard of Oz.”

But, what about those jitterbugs?

Well, if you expect the Wicked Witch of the West to have a legion of flying monkeys at her disposal, you’ve probably seen the 1939 MGM movie. But the stage production the Nuremberg Community Players will present June 26-28 gives the Wicked Witch a band of troublesome jitterbugs for henchmen instead.

Known as “the Muny version” because it was created for the Municipal Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri in 1942, the show contains the songs the motion picture made famous, including “Over The Rainbow,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and all those wistful, musical yearnings for a brain, a heart and “the nerve.”

You can watch the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion search for those useful qualities throughout the musical, which is the first show the Nuremberg Community Players will present in their new home, the former St. Joseph’s Church on Hazle Street, which they purchased from the Diocese of Scranton.

The space is ideal for theater, co-director Suzanne Croll said as a rehearsal of the opening scene began with Aunt Em (Tisha Demshock) calling for Dorothy.

And, the show is family friendly, said Mallory Thrash, who didn’t set out to give anyone nightmares with her portrayal of the Wicked Witch.

But, when you ask how frightening the character is, she said, “It depends whom you ask. I keep scaring the kids (in the cast) by accident.”

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