Barter's THE WIZARD OF OZ Begins Tonight

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Barter's THE WIZARD OF OZ Begins Tonight

There's no place like home, unless that place is Barter Theatre! This summer, Barter presents the gorgeously eye-popping musical "The Wizard of Oz." The magic begins tonight, May 17 on Barter's Main Stage.

Barter is pulling out all the stops, creating fabulous special effects that bring the story to life, from the residents of Munchkinland to flying witches and monkeys, the tornado that transports Dorothy to Oz, and a Wicked Witch who "melts" before your eyes.

"'Oz' is a fantasy dream and as a result of that there are a lot of special effects and wonderful spectacle that happens," explains Director Richard Rose. "The magic and fantasy of this story will be absolutely eye-popping."

The 75th anniversary of the movie makes this an extremely special event. "There are a couple of things that make this Oz unique, aside from being a professional production and the attention to detail," said Rose. "Namely, this cast is by far the best cast I've seen do Oz, ever, anywhere. They dance, sing and have a wonderful ability to create memorable characters and tell the story. I know this production will go down in the history books at Barter."

Not only is Barter preparing to venture to Oz, but the whole town of Abingdon is getting in on the fun in a town-wide summer celebration. Visitors can expect to meet Oz as soon as they get out of their car, with Oz photo-ops on Barter Square. Main Stage that has been turned in to Emerald City, and Oz-themed products in local businesses, including Babycakes Cupcakery's Ruby Red Slipper Cupcakes, Figaredo's Emerald Pizzas and Bonefire's We're Not in Kansas Anymore Barbeque. A complete list of participating businesses is available at bartertheatre.com.

Back at Barter, over 80 people (actors, designers, production artists and crew members) have been working months to guarantee audiences go on an unforgettable musical adventure on their way to see the great and powerful wizard.

Kristy Bissell has been cast to play Dorothy Gale. Formerly a Barter Player, Bissell has been with Barter Theatre for the past few years, and this is her first starring role in a main stage production. "Kristy has a voice simply to die for," according to Rose.

Barter audience favorite Sean Campos will portray the Scarecrow, joined by new members of Barter's Resident Acting Company, Andrew Hampton Livingston as the Tinman and Zacchaeus Kimbrell as the Cowardly Lion.

Kimbrell joined Barter in summer 2013, lending his amazing voice to musicals like "LES MISERABLES" and "Kiss Me, Kate," and then entertaining audiences as one of the "kids" in "A Christmas Story" last December. Livingston is the newest member of Barter's Resident Acting Company, appearing this spring as the jilted fiancé Jamie in "I Do, I Do, I Do." Livingston is a tap dancer, and his tapping Tinman will be the first time audiences have seen tap on Barter's stage since 2006.

Company member Hannah Ingram gets to revel in being a villain, as she takes on the dual roles of the mean Miss Gulch and the even meaner Wicked Witch of the West, in all her green glory.

In total, there will be twenty-five actors on stage, and a little dog, too! Kona Kringla will play Toto. She is a spirited Jack Chi brindle and was adopted from the Washington County Animal Shelter in TN. Kona is proudly represented by her owners and trainers, the Bubar family.

Families should to check out the Oz Family Package for the best value. With the purchase of any two full-priced adult tickets, get two or more youth tickets for just $18. Plus, each youth will receive a $5 voucher towards any Oz merchandise in the Barter gift shop!

"The Wizard of Oz" is made possible by corporate sponsors Johnston Memorial Hospital and BB&T and media sponsors Bristol Herald Courier, Lamar Advertising, VIP Seen Magazine and WCYB Channel 5.

"The Wizard of Oz" begins previews on May 17. For tickets and more information visit BarterTheatre.com or call 276.628.3991.

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