Columbia Theatre presents 'The Wizard of Oz'

Lauren van Mullem performs as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” an original production of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, during a dress rehearsal on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

It’s time to follow the yellow brick road to Hammond, Louisiana.

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts will present multiple showings of the timeless classic “The Wizard of Oz” throughout the month of March.

A Columbia Theatre original, the production is scheduled for nine performances in the downtown Hammond theatre on March 19-20 at 7:30 p.m., March 21 at 2 p.m., March 26-27 at 7:30 p.m., and March 28 at 2 p.m.

The play opened last weekend.

“The Wizard of Oz” chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy, who gets thrown into the magical Land of Oz after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their home in Kansas by a cyclone.

Upon landing in Oz, Dorothy encounters the inhabitants of Munchkin Country and their evil ruler, the Wicked Witch of the West. After the Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes that once belonged to the Wicked Witch, Dorothy journeys on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to ask for help from the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy is joined in her quest by a Scarecrow, a Tinman, and a Cowardly Lion, who all have their own requests for the Wizard of Oz.

Columbia Theatre Artistic Director Jim Winter, who directs the production, said the musical spectacle is the “most lavish of our three ‘Columbia Originals’ productions.”

The two-act production features a mixture of fire, smoke, aerial, and sound effects. However, Winter warns audience members “to beware of flying monkeys.”

“I am incredibly proud to partner with so many local businesses, Southeastern Louisiana University and the entire north shore community to celebrate the fact that there really is no place like home,” Winter said.

The 40-person case features talented community actors spanning every generation, led by Lauren van Mullem, who is playing the role of Dorothy. Joining her in the cast are Alden Mason (Scarecrow), Brennan Bankston (Tinman), Ben. C Dougherty (Cowardly Lion), Hannah Diaz (Wicked Witch of the West), and Don Michael Dubret (Wizard of Oz), among others.

Lulu Katz also stars as the lovable dog “Toto.”

Behind-the-scenes talents include Brent Goodrich (music director), Chelsea Tallo Little (choreographer), Paul Catalanotto (video projection effects), Steve Schepker (scenic designer), Olivia Marceaux (choreographer), the Paris Parker salon team and many others.

Ticket prices are $29 for adults and $15 for students and are available at the Columbia Theatre box office, located at 220 E. Thomas Street in downtown Hammond, or by calling (985) 543-4371.

The Columbia Theatre's audience capacity was recently increased, allowing the venue to sell more tickets for the production.

For more information, contact the Columbia Theatre at (985) 543-4366.

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