Junior Theater’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ Drops This Weekend
Davenport Junior Theatre (DJT) continues its 68th season of theatre “for kids, by kids’ this weekend and next with the Wizard of Oz on the mainstage. Showtimes are at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
“We last mounted the show in 2011,” said Daniel Sheridan, Artistic Director. “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.”
Wizard of Oz involves over 50 students from 9 different area cities and towns in the QC. The kids, who range in age from 9-18, are the actors, crew members, tech board operators, front-of-house team members and more. Local professional theatre artists work alongside the kids to create a dynamic theatre experience while training kids in theatrical production.
“We didn’t actually intend to have a cast of 44 actors,” said 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.”
Based on a novel published in 1900, Wizard of Oz first saw the silver screen in 1939. This classic tale tells the story of a Dorothy Gale, who is not satisfied with her life on the farm in Kansas. A storm hits and carries her to the Land of Oz. There she goes on a journey of self-discovery and friendship, as she follows the yellow brick road with her new friends. After her adventure, Dorothy returns home with a new found appreciation of the farm and family.
“We are pulling out all the stops, using all our theatrical design elements to explore the show,” said Jessica Sheridan. “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.”
Founded in 1951, Davenport Junior Theatre is the nation’s second-oldest children’s theatre. Classes and camps are offered year-round in theatre and dance for students ages three to eighteen. Classes are as varied as acting, improvisation, broadway, puppetry and theatrical design. In the quickly-growing dance division – which is now in its 8th year – young dancers learn poise and confidence while having fun and making friends in a non-competitive dance environment. Summers see a myriad of camps and other activities for kids of all ages. Through all these opportunities, DJT prepares kids for a lifetime of success, no matter what path their lives may take.