Lions and Tigers and MUNCHKINS… Oh My!

Over 30 local children ages 8–12 performing in ABT’s professional production of The Wizard of Oz this summer

PEORIA, Arizona, May — Beginning Friday, June 16, Arizona Broadway Theatre’s (ABT) The Wizard of Oz will be performed on stage featuring over 30 local children ages 8–12 to play the iconic Munchkins. This exciting opportunity for youth performers will encourage future generations to embrace interests in the arts and teach valuable performing skills that vastly contribute to individual growth.

“I am so excited that we get to provide a performance opportunity for the youth of the community,” says ABT’s Creative Director Kurtis Overby. “It builds so many skills that young people can utilize moving forward into their lives. Teambuilding, elevating self-esteem, honing performance skills and enhancing their interpersonal skills.”

ABT has provided other performance opportunities to local children in past productions including this season’s Mame and A Christmas Carol, as well as Elf, The King and I, and Annie to name a few. ABT’s Academy for Young Performers is a series of winter and summer camps dedicated specifically to educating the youth and giving them an intro to acting, dancing and singing on stage.

This summer the Academy for Young Performers camp is The Wizard of Oz: Youth Edition for ages 12–16 and campers will get to prepare and perform a fully-staged production at the end of their 2-week session. The Wizard of Oz: Youth Edition has fully sold out and Academy for Young Performers is looking forward to providing aspiring youth performers with a fun, hands-on learning experience that provides an amazing intro to starring in a professional production.

Tommy Hebel, age 10, who has previously participated in a few Academy for Young Performers camps, is one of the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz and most recently performed in ABT’s Mame as the primary role of Patrick Dennis. Although there’s no place like home, for Tommy, his second home would be the theatre.

“I am most excited about this [Munchkin] role because of the experience being in such a fantastic production,” Tommy remarked. “If I could choose another place to live it would be ABT! It’s so much fun!”

“It provides Tommy and fellow youth a fantastic opportunity to perform, and a chance to interact with professional actors, singers, dancers, directors, production, and each other,” Tommy’s mom, Meghan Hebel adds. “Through the rehearsal process they build a strong work ethic and it teaches them the process of putting on a high-quality production. ABT is an excellent outlet to build upon performance arts skills, get some exposure, and build relationships through the process.”

As a nonprofit professional theatre, ABT upholds the mission to engage and enrich future generations through the power of performing arts. This opportunity for elementary-age children to participate in The Wizard of Oz opens up a world of possibilities for aspiring youth and will hopefully encourage them to continue pursuing the arts.

The Wizard of Oz is a classic, whimsical production perfect for families and introducing children to their first professional musical. Guests can come to try the inspired menu, kids’ meal options included, and a spectacular performance with a dinner & performance ticket, or simply enjoy one of ABT’s specialty beverages in the lobby before the production with a performance ticket.

Dining prior to the show is available for the matinee or evening performances. Runtime: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. Tickets start at $35 for kids and $79 for adults (performance) and are available now at the Box Office or at Discounted Dinner and Show tickets are offered for groups of 12 and more and are available by calling 623.766.8400 ext. 0.

Media Contacts

McKenzie Wurtz, Communications Coordinator,

Michele A. Meyer, Director of Marketing & Communications or 480.601.3692


ABT Performing Arts Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Arizona’s one-of-a-kind, award-winning, state-of-the-art professional theatre showcasing locally and nationally acclaimed artists and providing palate-pleasing sit-down table service prepared fresh daily to accompany the award-winning on-stage fare. One reservation allows patrons to enjoy a whole night’s entertainment without rushing around the Phoenix sprawl. Support from the community sustains professional musical theatre produced in the Northwest Valley. It also allows ABT to create and deliver youth programming that educates and engages students across metropolitan Phoenix.