Down the Yellow Brick Road

Southern Kids in Theatre brings ‘Wizard’ to stage

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Southern Kids in Theatre brought "The Wizard of Oz" to life Saturday afternoon when the new group took the stage by storm in a musical rendition of the classic.

SKIT, under the direction of Debra and Larry Lonsdale, is a fairly new children’s theater group based in Maryville. Previous
shows have included "SKITmas at the Palace" in December and "Showstoppers From Broadway" this spring.

"Wizard" was a full-cast production, complete with flying monkeys, Munchkins, Winkies and the main cast of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, the witches and wizard. Toto, too, was there -- a lively little terrier who answers to Shaggy in real life.

Dorothy and Toto also made an appearance at "Live at Five" last week to promote the performance, along with parent volunteer Joe Lambert, who also did Master of Ceremonies duties at the performance.

Lonsdale started acting and singing at age 7 and, at age 10, she toured with The Sunshine Kids, a professional production company in St. Petersburg. She sang solo in the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild and St. Petersburg Symphony’s production of LaBoheme and Tosca. She studied opera, classical, jazz, pop and theater with the late Jonalyn Hill Bew at Florida Southern College and then continued her vocal and foreign language studies with Mario Laurenti, a vocal instructor in Italy. She received vocal and musical scholarship offers to Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music and The University of Miami. Her most recent venture, which has been over a year in completion, has been a contract with TEKMAR Productions Inc. to record an album singing and acting the role of Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "The Phantom of The Opera."

The group plans to do "Annie" in the fall and a production of "Cats" in Spring 2008.

SKIT has auditions twice a year for company members. Fees for SKIT vary according to performance schedule and include Saturday classes for the young performers. Contact Debra Lonsdale for audition information and Larry Lonsdale for sponsorship information at 865-621-0216 or 865-380-4387.

The Lonsdales are in the process of applying for 501-3C non-profit status. Sponsors for the "Wizard of Oz" performance
included Panera Bread and Safelite Auto Glass.

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