Obviously, I know we are still more than a month away from Halloween, but after last week, it was beginning to feel like we made a hard left into autumn. This got me thinking about a big show we have coming to the Niswonger over Halloween. It is perhaps the most known and loved musicals ever written - “The Wizard of Oz.”

Broadway is once again touring a production of this beloved musical most of us grew up seeing on TV as a motion picture. “The Wizard of Oz,” however, was a Broadway original appearing in the Majestic Theater in New York City in 1903. But it was 1939 when a young girl named Judy Garland stole our hearts as Dorothy and made “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” an American classic. The entire cast of this blockbuster hit was filled with superstars and America was introduced to the imaginary Land of Oz, in spectacular color!

I imagine there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t know the story of “The Wizard of Oz.” Most of us can quote many popular lines from the musical. Ray Bulger played the Scarecrow, Bert Lahr - the Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley was the Tin Man, and Frank Morgan was the Great and Powerful Oz (as well as a number of other characters throughout the movie.)

There have been many remakes of “The Wizard of Oz” for the stage. Networks is now touring this spectacular production and we are fortunate to have it in Van Wert this Halloween. We actually have two performance nights: Oct. 30 and 31. That’s a Monday and Tuesday night, but we have moved the performance times up to 7 p.m. so it is easier to see on a weeknight.

Can you imagine the little Dorothys dressed in costume coming to our show on Halloween? Or perhaps, someone may come as the Cowardly Lion, or Scarecrow, or maybe as a Tin Man. At any rate, it should be a really fun two nights at the Niswonger and I hope you can be a part of it.

The Van Wert High School Drama Department performed “The Wizard of Oz” a few years back and everyone enjoyed it so much we had people from Fort Wayne coming to see the high school production. Just imagine this show with professional actors, singers, costumes, lighting, special effects and scenery. It will be spectacular, I’m sure! And flying monkeys! Did I mention flying monkeys?

This touring show will make stops in Lexington, Kentucky, for five nights before coming to Van Wert for two nights. It is then off to the Carolinas before returning to Michigan for two nights in Flint and three nights in Detroit. You can see it right here in Van Wert, Ohio. That’s pretty cool!

Tickets are on sale now at the Niswonger Box Office and on line at www.npacvw.org. With two nights, we can fit well over 2,000 audience members in the house. It will be a memorable night as we welcome Dorothy and the entire cast along with all the beautiful music performed live in the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. Tell your friends and make a Halloween night of it on Oct. 30 or 31. We’ll be looking for you!

FINE