News • April 08, 2022

CBU theatre program is off to see the ‘Wizard’

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Riverside, Calif. (March 30, 2022) – The theatre program at California Baptist University is taking the yellow brick road to “The Wizard of Oz” for its upcoming production.

“I hope the nostalgia of the movie comes through,” said Stacee Willis, adjunct professor of theatre and the musical’s director. “I didn't know until I got into this script what a beautiful story it really is.”

Willis said she made the Wicked Witch more like Elphaba from “Wicked,” ugly on the inside but not on the outside. Additionally, the four actors who play Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Lion and Dorothy worked to create a camaraderie the audience would care about, Willis said.  Children from the Inland Empire Musical Arts play the Munchkins, Winkies and monkeys.

“If you've seen the movie, don’t think you don't need to see the stage version,” Willis said. “It stands alone as a musical and brings different elements that aren't in the movie that will make you fall in love with the story more than you knew you could have.”

The theatre department hired a special crew to set up a fly system in Wallace Theatre and taught the actors how to fly. The actors wear harnesses and are clipped into wires and lifted into the air.

“Learning to fly has been the coolest part of the process,” said Sophia Oliveri, a theatre senior. “Also, playing the Wicked Witch, it is fun having permission to be extravagant—and evil.”

Isaiah Torres, a film senior, plays Scarecrow.

“Being that this is my final show at CBU, playing the role of Scarecrow as well as being in this production I have learned to embrace every moment, make the best of each day, and reminded of the importance of friendship,” Torres said.

Jolene Automo, a theatre senior, plays Dorothy.

“It has been a really fun time getting to know her on a closer level now. She truly sees the best in everyone and is a prime example of having the childlike faith we are all called to encompass,” Automo said. “Her story has taught me is to truly live in the present moment.”

Automo said she wants the audience to enjoy the show.

“I hope the audience is able to learn something new from the same show and story they’ve seen before,” Automo said. “I also think that this show is just really fun and sweet. To be able to put on a production for an audience and let them just rest in nostalgia for two hours before getting back to the busyness life has for them, that would be wonderful.”

When: 7:30 p.m. on April 1-2 and April 7-9; 2 p.m. on April 2 and 9
Where: Wallace Theatre, California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA, 92504
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Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504