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Wizard of Oz Tea to raise funds for Duncan Theater's  musical

DUNCAN  If someone could don the ruby slippers and click their heels three times, would Duncan Little Theatre's expenditures for its largest production of the 2018 season go flying over the rainbow?

Some magic in covering the bills to bring "The Wizard of Oz" to the Simmons Center would be wonderful, but magic is not the way community theater groups pay for their productions.

Community theater depends on membership and ticket sales, donations, grants and fundraisers to provide financial support needed to stage productions. And with five performances of the musical "The Wizard of Oz" looming on the horizon, DLT is hosting a Wizard of Oz Character Tea from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Duncan.

"Historically," Loisdawn Jones said, "our musicals have always been our most expensive productions, and that's certainly the case with 'The Wizard of Oz'.

"We did a character tea for 'Beauty and the Beast' two years ago, which included a visit from the character Belle.

"This time we've changed the format a little for the tea, something to make it more for the whole family. We'll have visits from all of the major characters  Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Lion, Glinda, the Wizard and the Wicked Witch."

Jones, who is the theater's board chair for the 2018 season, said having more of the characters involved in the tea fits in with the "large" theme for "The Wizard of Oz" production.

"This is the largest cast DLT has ever had for a production," she said. "There are 103 members of the cast, and that includes the performers who will be playing more than one role.

"When we had our first dress rehearsal, we had to rent a room just for the Munchkins. We wanted as many people as possible so there will be a visual feast for the crowd scenes.

"Musicals are always the largest production we have in the annual budget, and 'The Wizard of Oz' is the most expensive single production we've ever had. The production is costing $55,000, so it's a huge financial expenditure for DLT."

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