Nope, Toto, we sure weren't in Kansas anymore. But the tent pitched in front of Towson University's Stephens Hall held some Kansas-like scenery along with that from a certain mythical land, as 265 guests circulated around props from the Maryland Arts Festival's stage production of "The Wizard of Oz." While there was no "man behind the curtain," the man in front of it was Dr. Hoke Smith, Towson University president and host of the opening night gala.
Trees from the musical's Enchanted Forest arched over the carving station, Emerald City towers glistened above fresh fruit tart, and, with no witches around to destroy, the only melting seemed to be the ice cubes in partygoers' drinks.
Among those reveling in the preshow fun: Joanne Glasser, TU vice president; Michael Decker, Maryland Arts Festival artistic producer; Nan Rosenthal, Janet Tolbert and Shawn Doyle, Maryland Arts Festival board members; Todd Pearthree, "Wizard of Oz" director; Diane Hood, Maryland Arts Council director of theatre; Maravene Loeschke, dean of the TU College of Fine Arts and Communication; Brent Burk-hardt, Trahan Burden & Charles vice president; F. Scott Black, F. Scott Dinner Theatre owner; Camilla Carr, MPT-TV "Newsnight Maryland" anchor; Phyllis Brotman, Gray Kirk / VanSant executive vice president; James Magruder, Center Stage associate dramaturg; and Steve Bolton, Johns Hopkins Hospital Wilmer Eye Clinic researcher.