Lions and Witches and Scarecrows at Ashland University, Oh My!

Lions and Witches and Scarecrows at Ashland University, Oh My!

1/20/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University box office opens the spring semester on Tuesday, Jan. 20, featuring sales for the much anticipated theatre production of The Wizard of Oz performing live on the Hugo Young Theatre stage Feb. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. 

Frank Baum’s beloved story is celebrating its 75th anniversary of the classical motion picture owned by Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed by Warner Bros. The cast and crew for the Ashland University Theatre production includes over 50 University students and faculty as well as community members.

With direction by guest director Bob Russell and musical director Ron Blackley, AU professor of music, sophomore integrated language arts major Ariel McCleary (Stow, Ohio) portrays little Dorothy Gale of Kansas who dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her and her little dog Toto (Quinn Petry, Ashland) away over the rainbow to another world where she is joined by the Scarecrow (Nick Seemann, Bath, Ohio), the Tinman (De'Andre Peterson, Garfield Heights, Ohio), and the Cowardly Lion (Jake Riley, Wooster, Ohio) as they travel the universe of Dorothy’s imagination. 

They are guided on their travels by Glinda (Marley Lieberman, Cleveland Heights, Ohio) while trying to avoid the Wicked Witch (Andrea Disch, East Liverpool, Ohio). In their search for the Wizard of Oz (Scott Hudson, assistant professor of theatre), they meet several interesting characters including the Emerald City Guard (Deric Dove, Newark, Ohio); Nikko, the commander of the flying monkeys (Joseph Guadiz, Cleveland, Ohio); the Ozians and the Munchkins.

The Ozians, the residents of Oz, are played by Ashland resident Tim Busbey as the Winkie General and Luke Blackley as well as several university students including Natalyn Baisden, Tori Flemming, Gracie Fumic, Aida Garcia Castro, Kayla Gowdy, Phoebe Lammert, Kaelyn Mead, Brooke Morgan, Kayleigh Shaw, Ceyanna Stasick, Taylor Stepp, Eryn Reynolds Tramel and Katherine Yurkowski.

Led by Luke Blackley as the mayor of Munchkin City, several area youth portray the Munchkins including Sophia Wood as the Coroner, Ellyssa M. Stadler as the Barrister, Melanie Irvine-Selby and Clara Kral as the Lullaby League, Wes Arnold and Andrew John Pascella as the Lollipop Guild, while Alena Arnold, Haley Barker, Leah DeBracy, Alexia Garber, Emily Ludwig and Delainey Williams complete the ensemble.

The production's choreographer is Katie Zarecki, set and projections are designed by Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Jason Coale while Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Costume Designer Sarah Russell designed the costumes. Technical Director J. Michael Desper is the sound designer, and junior Fatima Imani Smith (Copley, Ohio) is the show’s stage manager with freshman Rebecca Lyman (Avon Lake, Ohio) as assistant stage manager.

Single tickets for the performances are: $12 for adult; $10 for senior citizens, AU faculty, staff and alumni; $8 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for non-AU students and children, and $2 for Ashland University students with ID.  They can be ordered by phone at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., or online anytime at (additional fees apply).  For more information, visit the Web site at or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

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Steve Hannan
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