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We went to see 'Oz' and ended up watching people

In mid-December, I saw an ad in the Applause section of The Augusta Chronicle advertising a performance of The Wizard of Oz on Jan. 8. Brownie points immediately came to mind, because my wife enjoys these things. It became a stocking stuffer for her.

I have never been much one to go to many plays or movies because it is hard for me to sit still that long. The combination of knowing she would love this and the accumulation of brownie points that will allow me an error or two down the road was motivation enough.

So, last Friday we had a wonderful dinner downtown and then headed to Bell Auditorium. I'll have to admit I was looking forward to this as much as she was. We got there as soon as the doors opened because it was the first time either of us had been there and we weren't sure about parking. While waiting on them to seat us I struck up a conversation with a couple next to us, and it was their first time there, too, and it was the same for about a dozen folks immediately surrounding us.

While we waited I took a glance at the playbill and noticed most of the cast were rookies in that this was their first time on the road. Some had several years' experience, and the man who played the Wizard had over 30.

I went in with an open mind and was hoping for a good show. Of course there were a lot of kids there and I was hoping I would not be beside some young one who really did not want to be there.

I fully expected to see some kid asking his/her parent how much longer and I was amazed at how well-behaved all of them were. I started to take as much notice with this than I was with what was happening on stage; after all, I already knew the story line.

A little girl about 4 sat on the edge of her seat the entire time with her arm wrapped around her daddy's. Everywhere I looked I saw much of the same. These kids were mesmerized with what they were seeing, and so were most of the adults. These folks put on a fantastic show, and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Plan a date night and look at the schedule for the remainder of the year. Two events that pop up on my radar are Bill Cosby and Beauty and the Beast , which both saw in Richmond several years back.

Choose one to your liking, I do not feel you will be disappointed.

One thing happened that night that annoyed me but also led to a rather humorous moment. It had to do with the operation of the auditorium itself. They opened the doors one hour in advance but did not seat people until 30 minutes later, so that led to the front hall filling up rather quickly. Quite honestly, it became ridiculous to an extent, you couldn't move and the young ones were practically getting smothered.

Right before they let us in it was really bad; you can only get so close to a wall. Soon, my wife asked me if I heard water running somewhere, I said no and didn't think about it until a minute or so later she asked again, "Where is that water coming from?" You see, things got so tight that her backside had pushed the front bar of the water fountain on and it was running full blast behind her. Thankfully, she did not get wet.

Web posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010

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