Summer programs are keeping families busy but are the fruits of these activities just for them? Luckily, the efforts of hard-working younger thespians will be open to the public this weekend as three theater programs hold their performances.

First up is "The Wizard of Oz," a collaboration of artistic directors from the Boys & Girls Club, Bakersfield Youth Fine Arts Academy and Bakersfield City School District. More than 40 children have been in rehearsals since early June putting together the show. The summer theater workshop has included lessons in acting as well as dance and voice.

Emily Darbee plays Dorothy who, along with loyal Toto (Gianna Milazzo), embarks on an adventure to Oz, where she seeks the Wizard with the aid of Scarecrow (Ethan Taft), Tin Man (Bella Stine) and the Lion (Sarah Skenfield). Wicked Witch of the West, Kathryn Orozco as Glinda, Alex Sincoff as the mayor of Munchkinland and Lauren Stikes and Mia Richardson as munchkins.

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at Bakersfield City School District's Education Center, 1300 Baker St. Admission is $10 at the door. Proceeds will benefit future collaborative theater productions and youth participants.

Other future summer productions include "Into the Woods Jr." on July 7 and 8; "The Wizard of Oz" second workshop on July 14 and 15; and Disney’s "The Lion King Jr."  on Aug. 11 and 12.

Rehearsals for "The Lion King" start July 17 and registration is still open. Cost is $320 per session, which includes a role in the selected musical, daily snacks, cast T-shirt, two complimentary performance tickets, attendance to the cast party, cast photo and costume. To register, visit or 325-3730.

And Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame Junior Theatre will hold its first summer performances Saturday of “The Ever After — A Musical.” In a parody of daytime TV, the show has Cinderella (Amaris Rios) reconciling with her middle-aged, “beauty-impaired” stepsisters (Maddy Johnson and Jamesha Ross) after a 20-year estrangement, Snow White (Maelyn Hoyt) facing the Evil Queen (Katelyn Schneider) and Jiminy Cricket (Jack Ho) as an occupational therapist. 

Performances will be held at 1 and 7 p.m. at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, 2231 R St. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call 864-1710 for more information. 

The program is also enrolling for its second session for “Law & Order: C-rhyme and Pun-ishment,” which delves into the nursery rhyme justice system as Inspector and Punnish Sir investigate the shattering of Humpty Dumpty.

Rehearsals run 1 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays July 5 to Aug. 4 with a performance on Aug. 5. Children can attend the half-day show sessions or a full-day workshop that includes an in-depth performing arts morning session. From 8 a.m. to noon, those students will work on their skills in singing, dancing, acting, auditioning, improv and more. The half-day sessions is $300, and the full-day workshop is $600. Find out more at

Bakersfield Music Theatre Summer Workshop is also busy this weekend with performances for the morning session of its "Madagascar Jr."

The show is based on the 2005 film following Alex the lion and his animal pals’ adventures escaping from New York’s Central Park Zoo. Performances take place at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Masonic Temple, 1912 18th St.

The "Madagascar Jr." afternoon session will hold its performances at 7 p.m. July 7 and 2 p.m. July 8 at the Masonic Temple. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

Children can still get in on the fun with “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.,” with rehearsals starting July 17. The show, which takes its cue from the popular 1952 film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, will offer extraordinary roles for young dancers, although no experience is needed.

Cost per session is $385 for new students, $365 for those returning or $345 for family (if more than one child is enrolled). Visit to sign up.

Finally, Tonicism Summer Repertory Theatre is currently enrolling for its two sessions. Its morning workshop, which takes place 8 a.m. to noon, will take on Disney's "The Lion King Jr.," while the afternoon group (1-5 p.m.) will explore "She Kills Monsters" Young Adventurers Edition.

Many know the Disney story but "She Kills Monsters" might be of interest for older children. It centers on high-schooler Agnes Evans, who is dealing with the death of her younger sister, Tilly. Finding her sister's "Dungeons and Dragons" notebook, Agnes embarks on a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge. 

Both sessions run July 10 to Aug. 4 at The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. Performances are Aug. 5, 6, 11 and 12 for "Lion King" and Aug. 4, 5, 12 and 13 for "Monsters." Cost is $325 per session, with a discount if you enroll in both or have a sibling in program. Sign up at Send questions to or 861-1314.

Awarding artist

Artist/author Aliza McCracken, whose work is currently on display at the Arts Council of Kern's Access Center Gallery, let us know about her latest achievement. McCracken was given the 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor reserved for biographees who have demonstrated leadership, excellence and longevity within their respective industries and professions. The artist was recognized for her hard work and dedication to the fields of visual art and literature.

Her art will remain on display through July at the gallery, 1330 Truxtun Ave. McCracken will sign copies of her new book, “Peaceful Moments: Creative Affirmations for Your Heart & Soul,”  from 2 to 5 p.m. July 8 at Barnes and Noble, 4001 California Ave. Learn more about the artist at

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.