Bicknell Center to host first independent production in a year

Jordan Meier
Morning Sun
Main cast of Midwest Regional Ballet's production "OZ".

PITTSBURG, Kan. — This weekend, for the first time in over a year, an independent production will grace the stage at the Bicknell Center in Pittsburg  

The Midwest Regional Ballet will be performing “OZ” a punk-rock take on the classic movie and musical the “Wizard of Oz.”  

“We wanted it to be funky and fun and more updated,” Director Kaye Lewis said.  

Lewis, who for a time studied dance under Patsy Swayze (Patrick Swayze’s mom), said the performance will add new twists to the classic show.  

From most of the songs being covers, eye-catching acrobatics, exciting costumes — like Madona-era ‘80s garb for those in Munchkin land and rainbow mohawks for the punk-rocking Lollipop Guild — Lewis said the show is not one to miss. She even said there is an unexpected twist to the power of the classic red slippers.  

“There is a different twist on how magical these red shoes are,” Lewis said. “The red shoes are cool, but I thought ‘Shouldn’t they have some form of magic besides just getting her home?’” 

Poster

The cast consists of roughly 56 performers ranging in age from 2 to over 30 and they come from all over the Four-State area. Dorothy will be played by a local Pittsburg girl, Alora Spencer.  

The production, originally scheduled for April of last year, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Our opening night will be exactly one year and one month from the date we were supposed to start last year,” Lewis said.  

Lewis said although there were times over the last year she thought about just scrapping the show, she and the cast ultimately decided they needed to see it through. She added that people need a place to laugh and smile and hopefully this production will provide that.  

“I think people just need a laugh,” she said. “I feel like laughter has just been gone for so long. I’m excited to see an audience enjoying themselves.”  

Those in attendance this weekend will not be required to wear a mask although they can if they wish, and seats will be socially distanced at the Bicknell Center. The company will have three performances, May 13 at 7:30 p.m., May 14 at 7:30 p.m. and May 15 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for floor seats and $12 for the balcony. They can be bought at https://buy.tututix.com/midwestregionalballet .  

“I’m excited to hear people enjoy it,” Lewis said. “That’s what we miss the most, hearing people applaud and laugh or cry. We’re just excited to have people enjoy our art again.”  

Jordan Meier is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. She can be reached at jmeier@morningsun.net.