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THEY’RE OFF TO SEE THE COUNT

Joe Ronga, Dan Peterson, Madelyn Monaghan and Joseph York are off to see THE WIZARD OF OZ, in the stage adaptation of the ultimate “road picture” going up this weekend from Phoenix Productions.

It’s a winning strategy that’s served very well indeed: open in April with a family-friendly favorite; follow up in July with a dance-oriented show that draws on all the youthful energy available in the summer season. Return in September with a “golden age” classic for longtime audiences. Then, after you’ve made the nut for the year, close things out in November with something a little newer, edgier, more artistic.

When Red Bank’s own Phoenix Productions kicks off its milestone 25th season of lavish musical entertainments this weekend, they’ll be kicking it in style at the landmark venue that’s been their home stage for 23 of those 25 years — the Count Basie Theatre. And, they’ll be filling the seats of the Count’s castle with the friends and family members of a cast of some 40 players, as The Wizard of Oz becomes the latest upholder of the community theater company’s yellow-brick gold standard.

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