Students star in summer production of 'The Wizard of Oz'

No place like the stage

July 5, 2013 

— A group of Merced County students is presenting "The Wizard of Oz" later this month.

The Merced County Office of Education, in partnership with the Merced Union High School District and the MCOE Foundation, is hosting the second annual Summer Performing Arts Program.

It will culminate in four performances of L. Frank Baum's classic tale that spawned a Broadway musical and the well-known 1939 film adaptation.

The play will be performed by more than 90 fifth- through eighth-graders from throughout the county and 15 high school students volunteering for the program. The program began June 10 and runs through July 20.

"The Summer Performing Arts Program is essential to bringing an arts curriculum to students in the summertime. We hope that the community will support this and the MCOE Foundation so we can bring this to more parts of the county," said Steve Gomes, county superintendent of schools.

Participating students meet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Golden Valley High School Theater where they take classes in set design and construction, prop building, costume design and construction, makeup, as well as performing in the production and language arts-based instruction.

Classes are taught by three high school district theater instructors.

"This is a fun but very intensive program that absolutely aligns with the state standards in language and visual arts, along with a full year of a high school Drama 1 curriculum," said Crystal Langley, program director and high school district theater manager.

"These students are learning every aspect of theater, which will give them a leg up when they reach high school," she said.

Performances are July 18-19 at 7 p.m. and July 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Golden Valley High School Theatre. All performances are $5 and tickets can be purchased at the Merced County Office of Education, 632 W. 13th St. in Merced, or at the Golden Valley Theater starting one hour before each performance.

For more information, call Lee Lor at (209) 381-6601 or email her at

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