Help, Auntie Em! Cast Needs $6,000 to Fly to Oz in School Play

Filed under: In The News

Would flightless flying monkeys be less terrifying? Credit: MGM Studios

Theater students at an Iowa school are clicking their heels together three times, hoping everyone with a heart and a brain will gather up a little courage and donate money to lend some technical magic to their stage production of "The Wizard of Oz."

You see, the drama department at Des Moines, Iowa's North High School needs $6,000 to rent flying equipment for its spring play, giving the three-day production's flying monkeys the ability to flap their wings, allowing Toto and Dorothy to travel by tornado to the Emerald City and letting the Wicked Witch of the West scoot around on her broom.

Normally, budgets for the school's spring theater productions rely on ticket sales to pay for costumes, construction and royalties, the Des Moines Register reports, but that doesn't include the money needed for the professional flying equipment that covers rental fees, transportation and a week to work with technicians.
"When you go to 'The Wizard of Oz' you expect certain things," Mark Rixner, the show's director and the school's drama producer, tells the newspaper. "It adds a special flair to the show."

With a deadline of March 26, the students are hoping a yellow brick path will lead the way to raising the money. According to a letter sent with the school's February and March newsletter to parents, school alumni, staff, friends and drama families, the drama department is charting its progress on a board in the front lobby of the high school.

The letter says more than 250 bricks are "drawn onto a placard and for every $25 that comes in for this project, we will color it in gold to put this show one step closer on the yellow brick road to becoming a reality." Donors of $150 or more will have their "name placed into the armrest" of the school auditorium's new seats.

Some of the cast and crew see it as an experience to take with them as they work towards careers in theater.

"Just being able to learn about how to use the equipment and how to fly people, that will really help," Megan Hanson, the production's stage manager, tells the Register.

Related: 'Wizard of Oz' Ruby Slipper Collection Makes London Debut

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