Wizard of Oz to delight KidzWish audience

The cowardly lion was searching for courage in The Wizard of Oz - and plenty of that will be found in the audience at the annual KidzWish Foundation Christmas show.

Some 4600 kids with special needs from across the region will fill WIN Entertainment Centre on November 22 for the popular pantomime, the highlight of the foundation's ninth Christmas show.

KidzWish executive director Chris Beaven said the production promised to be the best yet with a great cast, colourful costumes, comedy and superb singing.

"One of the wonderful things I experienced as a child in the UK was going to Christmas pantomimes at the London Palladium," she said.

"I wanted to let these wonderful children into the world of pantomime, and they just love it. To see the place packed with kids smiling and laughing each year, just brings tears to your eyes.

"The Wizard of Oz is a perfect choice for 2012 as it shows kids that if you have a dream, that if you strive for it and get some good friends to help, then you can conquer anything."

Veteran Illawarra performer Scott Radburn plays the role of the scarecrow, Rowan Herring is the tinman, Jack Michel is the lion and Ms Beaven's granddaughter Ashley Young plays Dorothy.

The show - which costs $200,000 to put on and is free for the kids and their carers - will be followed by a Christmas party.

The following night the annual KidzWish charity ball will be held for corporate guests to raise funds for the charitable organisation's many programs to benefit sick, disabled and disadvantaged kids.

"The target for this year is $100,000 to cater for the increase in demand for our services," Ms Beaven said.

"The ball will be fabulous with entertainment by Jessica Mauboy and Cosentino - as well as a segment from The Wizard of Oz."

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