Carter Richter, Emma Brandel, Audrey Seneli, Jack Stremlow, and Tyler Wilbur in "The Wizard of Oz" at Davenport Junior Theatre -- February 15 through 23.

Saturday, February 15, through Sunday, February 23, 1 & 4 p.m.

Davenport Junior Theatre, 2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport IA

More than 50 young participants from nine different Quad Cities communities will be “off to see the Wizard” from February 15 through 23, with Davenport Junior Theatre presenting its all-student production of the timeless adventure The Wizard of Oz as the second presentation in the venerable company's 68th season.

Based on the beloved L. Frank Baum novel published in 1900, The Wizard of Oz, as everyone knows, tells the story of Dorothy Gale, a young girl who is not satisfied with her life on the farm in Kansas. A storm hits, however, and carries her to the wonderful Land of Oz, where Dorothy goes on a journey of self-discovery and friendship. Along with her loyal dog Toto, Dorothy follows the yellow brick road with their new friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion while trying to evade the clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West – an adventure that culminates with Dorothy's newfound appreciation of farm and family. “We last mounted the show in 2011,” says Artistic Director Daniel Sheridan, “and our Mainstage Company is far more dynamic now, with more resources and more students to help tell this amazing story. In terms of cast, this is the largest show in DJT’s history.”

Tyler Wilburn in "The Wizard of Oz"

Junior Theatre's new presentation of The Wizard of Oz involves over 50 students from nine different area cities and towns in the Quad Cities. The kids, who range in age from nine to 18, are the production's actors, crew members, tech-board operators, front-of-house team members, and more, with local professional theatre artists working alongside the students to create a dynamic theatre experience while training youths in theatrical production. “We didn’t actually intend to have a cast of 44 actors,” says Oz director Jessica Sheridan. “But we had so many talented kids audition, we wanted to involve as many as we could in a meaningful way. Wizard of Oz is full of great parts and opportunities. One thing I love about DJT is that we strive to serve all kids in roles that are challenging and help them to learn and grow.

“We are pulling out all the stops,” she adds, “using all our theatrical design elements to explore the show. We are taking a whole new look at the story. We dive deep into the meaning of home and that our journey through life somehow always brings us back around to home in some way.”

The Wizard of Oz will be staged February 15 through 23 with performances at 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and admission $6-8 at the door with admission free for ages two and under. For more information, call (563)326-7862 or visit DavenportJuniorTheatre.org.

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