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Stunning Dance Adaptation of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' Coming to Heritage Center

By University Relations Staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The Dubuque touring production of American Midwest Ballet's The Wizard of Oz, presented in collaboration with Dubuque's Academy of Ballet, will be performed at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2023, and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023, in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque. The performance is part of the 10th annual Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series.

WHAT: American Midwest Ballet's The Wizard of Oz, presented in collaboration with Dubuque's Academy of Ballet

- 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2023
- 1:00 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023
WHERE: John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque

- Public: $30 to $45
- Children: $25
- Children 3 and Under: $5 lap seat
- UD Affiliates (UD Faculty and Staff, UD Alumni, Parents of Current UD Students, Military/Veterans, Groups of 10 or More): $25 to $40
- UD Students: First ticket $10; additional tickets $25 to $40
Ticket prices increase by $5 at midnight the day of the event.

Choreographed by Erin Alarcon, ballet master with American Midwest Ballet (AMB), The Wizard of Oz is an original full-length story ballet that interprets the Oz story and characters through a seamless blend of classical ballet together with other dance styles including tap, jazz, and musical theater. The production will include young dancers from the tri-state area who auditioned for the roles of munchkins, cornstalks, apple trees, guards, and other dwellers of the Land of Oz. The Wizard of Oz also will feature some 180 costumes designed especially for this production and seven highly-detailed scene environments.

AMB, a 21-member professional dance company in its 13th season, is based in the Omaha, Nebraska, metro area with studios at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The Wizard of Oz will bring Erika Overturff, artistic director and CEO of AMB, home to perform the role of the Wicked Witch. A 1999 Dubuque Senior High School graduate, Overturff was a protege of Marina O'Rourke, director and instructor at Dubuque's Academy of Ballet, as well as a member of the Dubuque City Youth Ballet.

"I am beyond thrilled to bring access to professional dance to my hometown through a very special collaboration between three arts organizations around the region: American Midwest Ballet, Dubuque's Academy of Ballet, and the Heritage Center," Overturff said. "Our Wizard of Oz collaboration will provide a unique and memorable experience for public audiences, area students, and local cast participants, who will perform onstage alongside our company of professional dancers from around the nation and abroad."

For her vision and achievements, Overturff was named a recipient of the Midlands Business Journal's 40 Under 40 in 2015, which honored area entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals.

"Bringing her dynamic company to Dubuque is an excellent example for students who are aspiring to become dancers and artists in their adult life," O'Rourke said.

A free 30-minute lecture will precede the Friday performance of Wizard of Oz at 6 p.m. in Straatmeyer Rehearsal Room, Heritage Center.

Celebrate The Wizard of Oz before the show with "Page to Stage: Tornado Science" in April with the Dubuque County Library. Children in kindergarten through fifth-grade will make their own storm cloud and a tornado in a bottle as well as answer trivia about these fascinating storms. Each child who attends will receive one free child's admission with the purchase of an adult admission to The Wizard of Oz. Three programs will be offered: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the Dubuque County Library, Epworth Branch; 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, 2023, at the Dubuque County Library, Holy Cross Branch; and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, 2023, at the Dubuque County Library, Farley Branch. Please register by Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at

Support for The Wizard of Oz provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by the City of Dubuque Special Projects grant program and the City of Dubuque Department of Leisure Services.

The Salvation Army of Dubuque has graciously provided weekly rehearsal space for the local youth dancers appearing in this production.

Tickets for The Wizard of Oz can be purchased from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 90 minutes prior to events at the Farber Box Office, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque, 2255 Bennett Street; by calling 563.585.SHOW; or by visiting

New this season, H-PALS allows people to earn a point for every dollar spent. When patrons reach 200 points, they receive one free ticket (valued up to $50) for an eligible event of their choice.

Conlon Construction is the presenting sponsor of the 2022-2023 Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series.