We’re off to see the Wizard…

submitted by Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council

 It’s not where you go… it’s who you meet along the way! This summer in Franklin, you will have the opportunity to meet lots of great characters.

 It all begins in July, when you will meet “a man without a brain, another without a heart, one scaredy cat, a conman, and two women fighting over a pair of shoes.” That’s right… The Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council is off to see the Wizard!

 The F-S Arts Council is so excited to be producing the beloved, classic musical THE WIZARD OF OZ, under the direction of Jeff Moore with music direction by Elizabeth Cook. The Wizard of Oz is the original American fairytale brought to life by way of a great American art form, musical theatre. Most everyone can recall seeing this famous movie during their childhood, but just in case…

Young Dorothy Gale lives on a farm in Kansas with her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. Like so many girls her age, she dreams of escaping her mundane life and of what may lie over the rainbow. The family’s mean neighbor, Miss Gulch, threatens to impound Dorothy’s cherished dog, Toto, so Dorothy and Toto run away. They meet up with kindly Professor Marvel, who subtly convinces Dorothy to return home. Suddenly a tornado hits, and Dorothy and Toto, seeking shelter in the house, are transported to Munchkinland at the end of the rainbow.

Dorothy is greeted by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Apparently, Dorothy’s house has landed upon, and fatally stricken, the Wicked Witch of the East. The Munchkins, now freed from the Wicked Witch of the East, celebrate and hail Dorothy as their new heroine. The celebration is interrupted as the Wicked Witch of the West suddenly appears, seeking vengeance. Unable to reclaim her sister’s shoes, which are now on Dorothy’s feet, the Witch vows to return and disappears in a cloud of smoke. Dorothy wants to go home to Kansas and seeks the help of Glinda; however, Glinda says only the great Wizard of Oz can help Dorothy get back to Kansas. So Dorothy sets off to see the Wizard of Oz following the yellow brick road.

Along the way, Dorothy meets three new friends – a Scarecrow who needs a brain, a Tin Man who needs a heart, and a cowardly Lion who needs courage. Together, the four new companions make their way towards Oz. Along the way, they encounter several obstacles and mishaps that delay their journey. Upon arriving in the Emerald City, they see that things in Oz are strange, yet beautiful. Finally, they meet the imposing and irritable Wizard, who demands the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West as Dorothy’s way of returning home to Kansas, as well as her friends gaining a brain, a heart, and courage. After battling with the Wicked Witch, the Winkies and her flying monkeys, they are victorious and return to Oz to receive their wishes only to realize that they already have what they desire. Dorothy says goodbye to her new friends and heads back to Kansas.

The stage play is written by L. Frank Baum, adapted by John Kane from the motion picture screenplay for the Royal Shakespeare Company, with music and lyrics from the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. The well-known score includes some of the best-loved songs in the American musical pantheon such as “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and “We’re Off To See The Wizard.”

Follow us down the yellow brick road as the talented cast takes th

e stage at the Goodnight Auditorium in Franklin from July 20-23, 2017. Tickets are now on sale and are available at the Gallery on the Square in downtown Franklin, 270-586-8055, or online at www.franklinsimpsonarts.org.

Another great character you will meet is James Gregory, who will be performing in Franklin on September 14. Even if you haven’t heard of James Gregory, there’s a good chance you’ve heard him on radio or TV. The veteran comedian and Georgia native, who bills himself as “The Funniest Man in America,” creates an evening of non-stop laughter with a wry sense of the absurd, a Southern accent and universal storytelling. The ridiculous, the common and sometimes even the simplest events all become hilarious in the hands of this master storyteller and world-class comedian. The performance begins at 7 p.m. at the Goodnight Auditorium in Franklin. Tickets are $25 for reserve seating downstairs and $18 for balcony seating. Tickets are available at The Gallery on the Square in downtown Franklin, 270-586-8055, or on-line at www.franklinsimpsonarts.org.

Last but not least is the most famous character of all, Jesse James, the famous outlaw. We will be presenting a musical in September based on the life and death of Jesse James and his band of outlaws. Diamond Studs is a saloon musical… a rip roaring country and western rendition of the Jesse James saga that even had New York critics stomping their feet to the music. Jesse James is seen as a frustrated Southerner at the end of the Civil War, hamstrung by Northern limits imposed on the losers’ personal freedom. He turns to bank and train robbery, ultimately to be done in by his pal, Bob Ford, for the sake of reward and publicity. More details and ticket information will be coming soon.

For any questions or further information on any of the above-mentioned events, please contact the Franklin-Simpson Arts Council Director Brownie Bennett at 270-586-6799 or 270-776-5783.