Bettendorf's production of "The Wizard of Oz" coming soon

With the musical less than three weeks away, the cast is frantically readying itself to perform one of the most complex shows Bettendorf has ever presented. From green people to a real dog, “The Wizard of Oz” is sure to leave its audience blown away.

Veronika Larson’s 9-year-old yorkie, Fiona, will play the role of Toto, Dorothy’s dog, who travels with her to the land of Oz.

“Fiona has never done anything like this before. She will stand on stage but she gets really nervous when she can’t see me backstage,” Larson said.

Larson said, “We’re getting her a basket because she likes to try to jump in the pit.”

The pit is an open area under the stage where the band plays live music for the characters to accompany the live performance.

The audience should also expect to see many characters fly. Sophia Pike (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch) and Eva Stamper (Nikko) will be elevated by harness, making them appear to be floating. Hannah Wilson (Glinda) will fly in a bubble-like ring, and Chris Howard (the Wizard) will fly in a hot air balloon basket. Pike, who has never flown before, admits she is a little nervous to fly.

“I won’t have any control over my position while I’m in the air, but I’m also really excited because it isn’t every day, or show, that I get to be suspended in midair,” said Pike.

To assume her role, Pike will also be painted green.

“Nika and I are going to style me more similarly to Elphaba from ‘Wicked’ rather than the typical Wizard of Oz look,” Pike said.

Anyone interested in seeing Bettendorf’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” should follow the yellow brick road to Bettendorf’s Performing Arts Center April 11, 12, and 13 at 7 p.m, and April 14 at 1 p.m. Tickets will be $10 for everyone.


Chris Saito practices with the pit.


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