A Drive-in ‘Wizard of Oz' Ballet to Soon Bewitch in San Gabriel

Pasadena Civic Ballet presented "The Nutcracker" to a car-based audience over the holidays; now it returns with L. Frank Baum's classic.

Pasadena Civic Ballet

What to Know

  • Pasadena Civic Ballet
  • March 12, 13, and 14
  • $45 per passenger; parking is "first come, first served"; Emerald City Cotton Candy is available for $10

If you happen to come across a Yellow Brick Road around the middle of March, chances are as strong as Toto is spunky that the whimsical thoroughfare will lead to San Gabriel.

For Dorothy, Glinda the Good Witch, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the other iconic characters of L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" will be pirouetting at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in a new production from the Pasadena Civic Ballet.

Fans know that much of the beloved story takes place outside — after all, Dorothy and Toto skip along the Yellow Brick Road for a chunk of the action — and this ballet will unfurl under the sky as well.

But like the surprising twists found within this timeless tale, this presentation has an offbeat element: Audience members will remain in their cars for the show.

This isn't the first drive-in ballet from the company, which staged an outdoor version of "The Nutcracker" before the 2020 holidays.

The dates are March 12, 13, and 14, and the details regarding how a drive-in ballet works can be found here.

In the production's spotlight? Look for guest artists Petra Conti & Eris Nezha, two principal dancers who once performed with both La Scala and Boston Ballet. 

Parking? It's "first come, first served."

Also important to know? There's a yummy "Picnic in Oz" munchin' box that is part of your ticket, and the show runs for an hour.

Oh yes: Emerald City Cotton Candy will also be available for ten dollars, so be sure to add a bucket to your order before you check out if that tempts.

Drive-in experiences have dominated cultural calendars over the last year or so, but finding a live ballet to behold has been a far rarer thing.

For en pointe aficionados, the Pasadena Civic Ballet's adventuresome approach to connecting with audiences during the time of the pandemic has provided a sweet and uplifting treat for both eyes, heart, and mind.

And as far as watching "The Wizard of Oz" through your windshield?

Consider how many vehicles appear in the yarn, from Miss Gulch's bicycle to the cart pulled by The Horse of a Different Color to The Wizard's hot air balloon.

Even houses move in the story, making the idea of moving your own car in the direction of the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, all to park and watch live ballet, not at all daunting but totally delightful.

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