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Ballet Troupe's 'Wizard of Oz' Brings Magic, Munchkins, Monkeys to Macomb Center

The Macomb Ballet Company presents "The Wizard of Oz" in four performances Friday and Saturday at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.

Just call M-59 the Yellow Brick Road and follow it this weekend to the ’s production of The Wizard of Oz at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

Although the ballet is based on L. Frank Baum’s original children’s novel and will use a classical score rather than the famed movie soundtrack, MBC Artistic Director Amber Megna-Michalik promises that her company’s production will be every bit as magical as the iconic 1939 film.

“This show will appeal to all ages,” Megna-Michalik said. “This is a well-known and well-loved story with a classical ballet twist. The costumes, props and sets are unbelievable and rival any Broadway production. Our volunteers have spent countless hours working on all of the small details that will make this show magical. It promises to be a show that captivates from beginning to end.”

Having been in rehearsals since January, members of the company are anxious to premiere the production, perhaps none more than Sarah Bicknell, who will don a pair of ruby red slippers for her role.

“I was Dorothy when I was little for Halloween, but that was nothing compared to this,” said the 17-year-old Sterling Heights resident. “I’ve always loved the movie and the book and getting to play my favorite character is amazing.”

While those more familiar with the film will no doubt notice some character differences, fans can rest assured their favorite trio of misfits­ remains intact.

Dancing the parts of the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man are Carina Cardeccia, Laura Coleman and Taylor Orebaugh, all seniors who will be taking their last bows with the company at the final Saturday performance.

It is this real-life farewell that makes the show’s closing scenes somewhat bittersweet for the four friends.

“When I say goodbye to them (before returning to Kansas), I’m really saying goodbye,” Bicknell said. “They’re graduating. All of us have danced together forever and it’s an emotional ride for us, this whole show.”

“Emotional” was a key adjective for Coleman and Cardeccia, too.

“It’s very emotional,” Coleman, 18, of Rochester said. “As Dorothy is saying goodbye to our characters, she’s also saying goodbye to us. She gives us one last hug at the end and we’ll probably all be crying.”

But while it is goodbye, it’s not the end, for as Cardeccia says, "we’re leaving the company in good hands.

And the 17-year-old Macomb Township resident would be right.

While they may be flying monkeys, munchkins and Emerald City folk in this production, the company's younger dancers are continuously training to one day follow in one of the graduate's ruby red slippers.

The Macomb Ballet Company is a pre-professional group founded by Ann Parsley and open to aspiring dancers from around Macomb and Oakland counties. 

Performances are Friday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township.

Tickets for the May 4 performance can be purchased at the Macomb Center's box office, or by calling 586-286-2222. Tickets for all other performances can be purchased through the Macomb Center's website.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students or seniors.

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