Wicked Witch of the West Maddie Haar of Gurnee and Dorothy Lexi Bianchini of Lake Forest amd The Witch is telling Dorothy; "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too!" CmJ Productions will present its last show this weekend as the final curtain closes for this popular children’s theater company in Lake County. It will stage a unique production of a classic tale entitled Wizard of Oz with a Wicked Twist on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Wixom Theater in Waukegan. | Special for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 21, 2012 6:05AM
WAUKEGAN — Cmj Productions will present its last show todaym, Oct. 20, as the final curtain closes for this popular children’s theater company in Lake County. It will stage a unique production of the classic tale, “Wizard of Oz with a Wicked Twist,” Oct. 20 at 2 and 4 p.m. at the Wixom Theater, 1020 Glen Rock Ave.
Founded in 1999 by owner and director, Payge Whipple, Cmj Productions filled a void in childrens’ theater opportunities in Lake County. Now, 12 years and more than 30 shows later, Whipple will be closing up shop as economic and family health issues are prompting her and her family to relocate to Florida.
Cmj has provided hundreds of performers with an opportunity to gain fun and educational theatrical experience and has also provided thousands of students, most from Waukegan, with the benefit of participating in these shows as audience members.
“This last production is a very important me. It is sad but I have a lot of great memories. I am not only going to miss the children I work with several times a week, but I am also going to miss the students of Waukegan. We have had the pleasure of performing for them so many times and as a director it brings such joy to me to have all these kids experience live theater,” said Whipple.
“I do feel a little like Dorothy in the story. Dorothy has to weather some difficult times and then has to say goodbye to her friends as she heads back home. It makes me really sad to have to say goodbye to the wonderful friends I’ve made along the way on my Cmj journey,” she said.
One of Whipples’ actors, Maddie Haar, sums up Whipple’s departure from the area, “We are all going to miss her so much. Being in a Cmj show is like being part of a second family. Payge has given so many people an opportunity to be in a production that otherwise would never have had a chance. She gave me a chance and I will always be grateful for that.”
Tickets are $8 and $6 for senior, military and children. For more information, call Payge Whipple at (847) 445-9288.