By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Live theater returns to Coral Gables this weekend with the Children’s Theater production of The Wizard of Oz.

The play has been in rehearsal for a couple of weeks and the theater is all set up for audience and actors’ safety.

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Earl Maulding, Director of Theatre for Young Audiences at Actors’ Playhouse, says, “Fully costumed, fully staged, scenery and geared to a family audience, lots of excellent tricks, special effects… little over an hour.”

The Actors’ Playhouse has been preparing for a live audience, keeping safety in mind.

“You are going to see nine professional actors socially distanced on stage. We moved the show to the main stage so we had more room to spread the actors,” said Maulding.

It was a bit of a challenge, but how do you keep a reduced audience spaced safely?

“Our ticketing system is amazing as it automatically distances the audience so everyone comes into the theater feeling safe,” adds Maulding.

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And when did the folks that run the playhouse “turn the corner” decide to get back to at least children’s plays?

“So, we decided in December to take a shot and see if people wanted to return to live theater and we did a live production of Madeline’s Christmas and we were pleasantly surprised by how many people came back.”

But that decision was made after summer children’s acting camps went smoothly even as the pandemic forced the closure of theaters.

Now with one under their belt, here comes the Wizard of Oz, the story of Dorothy, a tornado, Kansas, that wicked witch, and the munchkins.

“I always know I have done my job when I walk into the theater and the audience is like glued to the stage. Even the little tiny ones, engrossed in the show,” says Maulding.

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As far as Broadway plays returning to the Actors’ Playhouse, there are no firm dates for that to happen. Team