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The Wonderful Wizard
Children's theater comes to GBPL
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Dorothy and Toto meet the Scarecrow in a scene from the Brett Crandall’s Children’s Theater version of “The Wizard of Oz,” Saturday at the Great Bend Public Library. Crandall is a Deerfield native but said his passion for art and storytelling moved him from Kansas to New York to pursue a career in theater. - photo by Susan Thacker

With a wave of Brett Crandall’s top hat, children and adults were transported from the Great Bend Public Library to the marvelous land of Oz.

Crandall’s Children’s Theater Tour was in Great Bend Saturday to present “The Wizard of Oz.” With Monica Wiles in the role of Dorothy, a few puppets, and Crandall portraying the Wizard, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, they presented their version of the classic story based on a children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum in 1900. 

There were plenty of opportunities for children in the audience to participate. They were cast in the role of Munchkins and every time Dorothy asked directions to the Emerald City they told her to, “Follow the yellow brick road!”

Before the play, library staff handed out Emerald City glasses with green lenses. Everyone was encouraged to wear the glasses for scenes in the Emerald City. In Baum’s first Oz book, everyone is made to wear green-tinted eyeglasses, supposedly to protect their eyes from the dazzling emeralds. When the Wizard is revealed as a humbug, they learn the glasses are really just another trick by the Wizard to make everything appear green.

Volunteers were also called up to improvise some parts in the play. Three children played spooky trees in the haunted forest and three stood in as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion when Crandall assumed the role of the Wizard. 

Brett Crandall is a Deerfield native who now lives in New York City. Earlier this month he and Wiles stopped by Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz attraction in Liberal. Barton County residents may also remember seeing his production of “A Christmas Carol” last year in Ellinwood.

“We hope to see you around the state of Kansas this summer,” Crandall told audience members. His children’s theater company will be doing “Peter Pan.”

Egg Decorating contest

The Great Bend Public Library is looking ahead to Easter with an Egg Decorating Contest, April 1-19. A craft supply and work station will be available at the library. Participants will be provided with a white plastic egg to decorate. People may bring their own eggs from home but if they do the eggs must be hard-boiled, blown or plastic — no raw eggs will be accepted. 

There will be prizes awarded in six age categories, ranging from 3-5 years old to 55 and over. Judging will take place on April 22.