Tin Man still sings a song about heart, Lion still sings a song about courage and Dorothy is still trying to get home, but American Family Theater, Inc., will soon bring its unique, youth-geared production of "The Wizard of Oz" unlike local audiences have ever seen.
The show, sponsored by Blair County Arts Foundation Family Theatre, will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.
Laurie Wagman, founder and CEO of American Family Theater, said the traveling production company has been around for more than 40 years and has been called "the premier producer for musicals for young audiences in the nation." She added that "The Wizard of Oz" is one of their most popular shows because of its timelessness.
American Family Theater will present “The Wizard of Oz” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.
"It's really all about getting back home," she said. "Adults love it, kids love it, everyone tries to get back home, whether it's a place, a person, a state of mind or a goal. That's really what 'The Wizard of Oz' is all about, getting back home and the friends that help you along the way."
To make for a unique, educational experience, American Family Theater's production of "The Wizard of Oz" boasts original music and its own script. Despite this, Wagman said it's very important to them not to change what makes the show a classic.
"We're helping to bring classics from the bookshelf to life on stage," she said. "We don't try to move it into contemporary mode. We want to tell the story that made these things classics."
If you go
What: "The Wizard of Oz"
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Mishler Theater in Altoona
Tickets: Tickets are $11.50 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, $9 for students, and may be purchased through the Mishler Box Office, 944-9434, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, or online at www.mishlertheatre.org. Grandparents may be admitted for free when accompanied by a grandchild, but this offer is not available online.
Though the show is geared toward children up to fourth or fifth grade, Bob Steck, a sales and administration official who's been with American Family Theater for 17 years, said he enjoys the shows and the energy the actors bring to the stage.
"You see young children with Grandma and Grandpa, and the grandparents enjoy the show as much as the 6-year-old," he said.
Steck added that each "light and lively" performance also comes with a study guide for audience members to heighten the educational experience. And at the level which arts are being depleted from school curriculums, Wagman said the work of American Family Theater is more important now than ever.
"Our shows are filled with fun and imagination," she said. " That is the kind of magic you only find in live theater."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.