In the classic “Wizard of Oz,” the Munchkins are from a land far, far away, perhaps even from a dream. This weekend at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, those faces may just be a little more familiar.
The Carson Center’s featured performances of “The Wizard of Oz” will showcase 12 students from the Academy of Movement and Performing Arts in Paducah. The students will be in full dress and participate on stage throughout the show, playing the parts of the Munchkin guild.
“We don’t always have shows where children can be a part,” said Mary Katz, the Carson Center’s director of education. “But this is really great for kids. They are going to get great experience from it.”
The children are Hope Eason, Jessie Elliott and Bailee Patel of St. Mary Elementary; Owen Auble, Savannah Henderson and Callie Taylor of Concord Elementary; Tessa Herron and Abby Straight of Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary; Laura Walker of Lone Oak Elementary; Hailey Travis of Sharpe Elementary; Ansley Rice of Heath Elementary; and Lydia Seiner of Hardin County, Ill.
“We didn’t have a very formal selection process,” musical theater teacher Megan Hughes said. “There were some who were chosen for talent, some who were chosen for their drive. It was really about passion.”
The academy opened about a year ago and began offering musical theater in the fall. Hughes and studio owner Tressa Wilham concentrate on acting skills and basic dance choreography.
“We teach Broadway, basically,” Hughes said. “We have them from a young age, so they learn quickly and have a head start when it comes to performing. Now they get to put the things they know to the test.”
“I knew them before as a dance studio,” Katz said. “But they added this musical theater class and everything just kind of clicked. They are perfect for this.”
“The Wizard of Oz” will be at the Carson Center for three shows, starting with a Friday performance at 7:30 p.m. There are two shows on Saturday: a matinee at 2 p.m. and a show at 7:30 p.m. The munchkins of AMPA will play in all three shows.
“I don’t know if a love for the arts is born in a child,” Hughes said. “But it definitely seems so. These kids love doing it.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.
Want to go?
- What: “The Wizard of Oz”
- When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
- Where: Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center.
- Tickets: Starting at $34.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 270-450-4444 or check out thecarsoncenter.org.