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July 11, 2013

Adventures in Munchkinland

Port girl in North Shore's Music Theatre's 'The Wizard of Oz'

Fresh off her turn as Louisa von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” a Newburyport girl is now trying on a very different persona.

Maggie Budzyna, 12, is playing one of the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens Tuesday at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly.

She started rehearsing on June 29, less than one week after the last show of “The Sound of Music” at NSMT.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Maggie, who was one of 16 Munchkins chosen from the hundreds who auditioned. Additionally, she just found out that she will also have a role in Act 2, playing one of two Emerald City schoolgirls.

“For her to get cast in two shows at North Shore this summer was really a dream come true for her,” said her mother, Dierdre Budzyna.

As a Munchkin, Maggie gets to perform a couple of the more amusing songs in “The Wizard of Oz,” including “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead,” in which Munchkinland lauds Dorothy after her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her.

“That number is probably my favorite number,” she said. “The dancing is difficult, but it’s also very fun to perform.”

The Munchkins also have the most eye-catching costumes in the show — “multicolored, neon, crazy,” Maggie said — which will help mark the musical’s transition from black and white to color, echoing the 1939 movie.

“It’s going to go from pretty dull-looking to beyond the extreme,” Maggie said. “I think it’s going to be really fun for the audience.”

Though NSMT’s theater-in-the-round setting can pose some challenges, “I like it a lot better,” Maggie said.

“The first time, it’s very confusing,” she said. “But you can have a lot of fun with it. You can do what feels natural for your character.”

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