No Place Like Home

Schultz Theatre To Stage ‘The Wizard Of Oz’

Posted: August 7, 2014

Daily News-Record

New Market’s Schultz Theatre will kick off “The Wizard Of Oz” at 7 p.m. Aug. 15. Tickets cost $15; $12 for students and seniors. Additional information and show times are listed at (Photo by Jason Lenhart / DN-R)
Stephen Brannan, cast as the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz” rehearses Aug. 3 at the Schultz Theatre. (Photo by Jason Lenhart / DN-R)
Dorothy, played by Rachel Fitzsimmons (left), and Aunt Em (Jane Shumway) rehearse for the upcoming production of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Schultz Theatre in New Market. (Photo by Jason Lenhart / DN-R)

Fashionistas have said it for years: The right pair of shoes can change a girl’s life. Arguably, in no film is this more apparent than “The Wizard of Oz,” as protagonist Dorothy Gale relies on her sparkly slippers to transport her back home.

Alas, in the Schultz Theatre’s stage version, debuting Aug. 15, director Michael Gwin says Dorothy’s scarlet accessories won’t be her ticket home; however, he promises the iconic footwear will still make an appearance.

“There will be ruby slippers,” Gwin insisted, laughing. “I figured I would get stampeded if there weren’t ruby slippers!”

Though he doesn’t want to give away any spoilers, Gwin says the Schultz’s version will include a few other deviations from the classic tale.

“I put my own little twist on the show,” he added. “I didn’t want it to be an exact replica of the movie.”

The basic premise will remain the same: Innocent Kansas teen Dorothy Gale is swept away in a tornado and finds herself in a magical, faraway land. She embarks on a journey to find Oz, a reputed wizard of some skill with the power to send her home.

Along the way, she befriends a cowardly lion, a dimwitted scarecrow and a heartless tin man, all of whom join in her trip, hoping the wizard can also improve their character flaws.
Gwin says the plot is more profound than it first appears.

“There’s a deeper meaning to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ than just a little girl skipping on a yellow brick road with three weird friends ... basically, [the lesson] is that what we are seeking is already within us.”

Woodstock local Rachel Fitzsimmons, cast as Dorothy, says she’s loved the “scary and magical” musical since childhood. She also appreciates one of its main messages: There’s no place like home.

“There’s not much that goes on in Kansas, [so Dorothy] really wants an adventure,” Fitzsimmons summarized. “But then, she realizes towards the end that yes, it’s an adventure, but she misses home [and] then she appreciates what home has to offer.”

To prepare for the role of Dorothy, Fitzsimmons, 28, says she recalled some of her own memories of being a teen.

“I had to think about really being a 16-year-old and just embodying that kind of innocence,” she explained.

Though Fitzsimmons has been acting for years, this will be her inaugural performance on the New Market stage. Calling her cast mates “talented and energetic,” she said it’s been a great experience.

“It’s been really wonderful,” she remarked. “I hope to continue to do more shows with them.”

Gwin agrees that the cast is top notch.

“This has been a really good group,” he praised. “They’re really hard-working. …  It’s been a really enjoyable experience.”

Show times include 7 p.m. Aug. 15-16, 22-23, 29-30 and 3 p.m. Aug. 17, 24 and 31.

Adult tickets cost $15; students and seniors, $12.

To purchase tickets, call 740-9119 or visit

Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or

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