Musical theater returns to Bay

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Members of the local theater community and Bay College employees who will be involved with the college’s upcoming production of “The Wizard of Oz” celebrate the official announcement of this production Wednesday. Performances of the musical have been scheduled for Nov. 1-3 and 6-9.

ESCANABA — Bay College will be putting on its first musical in years with a production of “The Wizard of Oz” this fall. The show was officially announced in a press conference livestreamed on Bay’s Facebook page Wednesday.

“The goal of tonight’s event was to make a public announcement to the community that musical theater is returning to Bay,” Jamie Peterson, the show’s director, said.

Performances of “The Wizard of Oz” have been scheduled for Nov. 1-3 and 6-9.

“With a production this size, and the time (and) dedication required, we wanted families and individuals to know about it as soon as possible,” Peterson said. The show will feature flying effects, pyrotechnics and a live orchestra.

According to Peterson, his connection to Bay College’s drama program began last year.

“I got involved with Bay in 2018 by helping to mentor their drama club,” he said. Peterson also directed a small drama club show in the spring of that year.

Peterson said his reasons for wanting to do “The Wizard of Oz” at Bay this year were threefold. He felt it would honor the 80th anniversary of the film the musical is based on, would help to “kickstart” Bay’s theater program, and would provide area youths with an opportunity to get involved with the performing arts.

“We plan on involving about 50 youth actors in the project — that’s our goal,” he said. Adults in the community will also be able to participate in Bay’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Travis DuBord will direct the show’s music. DuBord said he was glad to be involved with the production.

“We’re really excited to be able to bring musical theater back to Bay College students … and the community,” he said.

Auditions for “The Wizard of Oz” will start in August. Adult actors will be able to try out for the show on Aug. 18 and 19. Actors between the ages of 8 and 17 will need to pre-register for youth auditions, which will take place on Aug. 24 and 25. All auditions will take place at the Besse Center Theater on Bay’s campus.

Bay College President Laura Coleman said she is looking forward to the show.

“We are extremely excited to have musical theater back at Bay College,” she said.

For more information on Bay’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” or to volunteer or donate, visit