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'Wizard of Oz' opens Sept. 8 at Renegade's Children's Theatre

Dorothy and her three companions will be waltzing down the yellow brick road this year -- in a Renegade Children's Theatre production that opens Sept. 8.

Dorothy and her three companions will be waltzing down the yellow brick road this year -- in a Renegade Children's Theatre production that opens Sept. 8.
The play is a new musical adaptation by Kevin Reese based on the original novel.
The play is cute and funny, and it is a musical, but the songs aren't the same as the movie, said Jill Hoffman, who is directing her first children's show at the Renegade with this production. "It's not the original score, but there are cute, snappy tunes," she said. "The script is a little different than the movie. too. It's based more on the original book."
This play also has children in mind. Not only will they laugh and giggle as Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow have adventures in the Land of Oz, they will also help Dorothy get to Oz.
"The children (in the audience) become munchkins," she said.
Although this is the first time that Hoffman has directed a play for the children's theater, it's not her first directing experience by any means.
She has directed plays at the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Wisconsin-Superior for years and is well-known as an actress in her own right. She has performed for Bennett's Dinner Theatre as well as at the Duluth Playhouse, and will be playing Glenda, the Good Witch of the North in "The Wizard of Oz."
"When Brian called me and asked me if I'd direct 'Wizard of Oz' I told him I'd rather audition," she said. "He said 'If you direct, you can just give yourself a part.' So I did."
It's fun to direct and act in a play, she said. Last season Hoffman directed and sang in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Sorcerer," which was performed on the main stage at Renegade. "The Sorcerer" sold out every night of its four-night run. She said this season she will be directing another Gilbert and Sullivan musical -- "Patience."
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Meanwhile, rehearsals are continuing for the opening of "Wizard."
Hoffman said it was easy making selections for the cast. "They are all so talented. I had no trouble assigning parts at the auditions," she said.
Jennifer Lindgren plays Dorothy and Stacey Matson plays the Gatekeeper/Oz in this production, with Jerry Bacon as the Tin Man, Jim Hencinski as the Lion and Cory Lathrop as the Scarecrow. Hencinski's wife, Susan, plays the Wicked Witch of the West.
Guy Degerstedt is the technical director and set designer, Nikki Caulfield is the musical director, and Ana Lee Bixler is the stage manager. Ben Gagne is the accompanist.
"The Wizard of Oz" opens at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the main stage at the Renegade Comedy Theatre, 404 W. Superior St. Shows are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sept. 9, 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. For reservations and information, call 722-6775.
NEWS TO USE
"The Wizard of Oz" opens at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the main stage at the Renegade Comedy Theatre, 404 W. Superior St.
Shows are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sept. 9, 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. For reservations and more information, call 722-6775.

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