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Local kids are cast in 'Chasing Rainbows'

Flat Rock Playhouse, the developmental house for Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, announced the casting for the world premiere that chronicles the life of a young Judy Garland. The cast includes 20 local kids.

The new musical explores Garland's extraordinary journey from vaudeville to Hollywood to stardom which culminated in one of the most popular films of all time, The Wizard of Oz. The production opens Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 19, at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

The cast for Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz includes Ruby Rakos (Broadway’s Billy Elliot) in the central role of Frances Gumm, who blossoms into the legendary Judy Garland. Other principal roles will be played by Ben Crawford (Broadway’s On the Twentieth Century, Big Fish, Shrek the Musical, Les Miserables), Michael Wartella (Broadway’s Wicked), Windi Bergamini, Michael McCorry Rose (Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Wicked), Janet Dickinson (Broadway’s Bullets Over Broadway, Dr. Suess’s how the Grinch Stole Christmas) and Kevin B. McGlynn.

The adult ensemble is made up of Zach Berger, Katie Drinkard, Preston Dyar, Dan Higgins, Maddy Kinsella, Andrea Laxton, Katie LeMark, Sarah Primmer, Jack Sipple, Scott Treadway, Alexandria Van Paris, Davis Wayne and Zach Williams.

The producers and the creative team traveled to Flat Rock in August to audition local youth for the show. Featured roles include Kyra Hewitt as Baby Gumm, Nicole Johanson as Shirley Temple and Claire Griffin as Deanna Durbin. Rounding out the youth ensemble are Sophia Bradshaw, Anissa Gale-Patrizia Briggs, Harper Callahan, Brice Farris, Will Field, Keelie Jones, Clarke MacDonald, Louise Martin, Ezekiel Mercado, Clancy Penny, Caroline Quinn, Jamie Riedy, Alisha Richardson, Hadin Robertson, Chris Saucedo, Ariana Schuler and Georgia Kay Wise.