Beef & Boards cast off to Oz


Elizabeth Stark Payne went through a phase of repeatedly watching “The Wizard of Oz” as a youngster.

“This was the only VHS (recording) that my grandparents had at their home when we went for holidays, and while the adults were all in the kitchen, laughing and playing cards or talking, us kids would watch it on repeat back in the middle bedroom,” Payne said. “I never got bored of this movie. I love that my kids are starting to go through the same phase now, although it has to contend with TikTok now.”

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Payne will direct Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” which runs May 23 to July 7 at the Indianapolis venue.

“My biggest challenge with a show like this is keeping it fresh,” Payne said. “People come expecting the same nostalgia and feelings they got when they first watched the movie. We don’t want to stray too far from those images in people’s minds but would still like to bring it along with us into new, fun visions. I also want to keep it fresh for the kids and adults alike. Our family-friendly shows have something for everyone.”

Payne said the show has a nice mix of cast members who have performed at Beef & Boards and some who are newcomers.

“I have several cast members that I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot over these last several years, (and) some, like Ty (Stover), who I’ve known since I was a child, and others that I will be meeting for the first time in person on our first rehearsal day,” Payne said. “It’s always nice to welcome new people into the Beef & Boards family.”

Payne said it’s a normal size of adult cast members.

“But once you add in all those cute Munchkins, it is a pretty large cast for us,” Payne said. “We are utilizing several Munchkins in shorter contracts, as it can be hard on their personal drivers or parents’ schedules to manage eight- and nine-show weeks. For rehearsals, however, we will have everyone, and that definitely makes for a crowded space.”

Payne was a stage manager the last time Beef & Boards presented the show in 2012. 

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