Arts & Entertainment

Follow yellow brick road to Toyota Center on Jan. 9

The classic tale of witches, wizards, Munchkins and a Kansas farm girl lands in the Tri-Cities on Jan. 9 in the Windermere Theatre at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

And just to make the adventures down that yellow brick road even more interesting for Tri-Citians, 12 of those adorable little Munchkins will be performed by local kids.

Debra Rogo, artistic director of the Mid-Columbia Ballet company, was thrilled to loan a dozen of her tiny dancers to the professional touring show for the Wizard of Oz.

"These kids are really going to be the Munchkins," Rogo said. "They are on stage for 17 minutes of the first act, and play the Winkies (wicked witch's guards) in the second act. I think they do more actual dancing than the Munchkins did in the movie."

The nine girls are the Lullaby League and three boys are the Lollipop Guild. And besides dancing up a storm, the kids will sing some songs, including Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

"The touring company will not see our Munchkins until the on-stage rehearsal the afternoon of the performance," Rogo said. "I am sure they will be very please with what they see because the kids are doing great."

This once-in-a-lifetime experience for the ballet company's young dancers won't be the first time these kids have been on stage, Rogo said.

"They have a lot of stage experience from their performances in the Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Hansel and Gretel and more," she said. "They work hard and have an incredibly professional attitude toward their work."

The dancers, all from the Tri-Cities, are Rachel Bauman, Willow Whitney, Sierra Montoya, Reagan Fulton, Bailey Peterson, Megan Koelzer, Emma Jade Branson, Bradley Streetman, Tanner Robinson, Tyson Robinson, Shawna DeLorenzo and Alyssa Russcher.

"Not only are the kids very excited about performing in a professional show, we are all excited for them," Rogo said.

The show, based on the best-selling book by L. Frank Baum, features many of the special effects found in the 1939 classic film, from the time the tornado swoops down to scoop up Dorothy and Toto and hurl them over the rainbow to the magical land of Oz.

The scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion will be there, along with Glinda the Good Witch and the great Wizard of Oz himself.

The NETworks Presentations show stars Kate Bristol as Dorothy, Beau Hutchings as Tin Man, Andrew Haserlat as Scarecrow, Jesse Coleman as Cowardly Lion, Pat Sibley as the Wicked Witch of the West, Robert Biedermann as the wizard, Sarah Amades as Auntie Em and Glinda and Ryan Wagner as Uncle Henry.

Tickets to the show are $32 to $67 plus service charges. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or the coliseum box office. Tickets bought at the box office avoid service charges.

The show is part of the Toyota Center's Broadway Series. The last two events in the series are Riverdance on March 29 and Cats on April 22.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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