In a first for the country, Saudi Arabia to host The Wizard of Oz in October

King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture "Ithra" (Aramco)

King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture “Ithra” (Aramco)

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia will for the first time host The Wizard of Oz, “the greatest family musical of all time”.

The production, a spectacular celebration of the iconic 1939 MGM film, will be held on October 2-12 at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) and will include dazzling choreography, classic songs and special effects from the moment the tornado twists its way into Kansas.

“The entire family will be captivated as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and beyond with Dorothy, Toto and their friends the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in this lavish production, featuring breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography and classic songs,” organizers have posted.

“The Wizard of Oz will blow you away from the moment the tornado touches down and transports you to an astonishing Oz, complete with munchkins and flying monkeys.”

The show, lasting two hours and 45 minutes, is set to be a hit among Saudis and residents as the country marks a spectacular opening on international entertainment.

An ambitious drive to overhaul the country’s conservative society and change mindsets has been steadily moving forward under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.

Under the ambitious plan, women have been allowed to drive and to attend sporting events in stadium, movie theaters have been opened and entertainment performances staged.

The political, economic and social empowerment of women has helped change the conservative character of the society.

Championing diversity, celebrating creativity and motivating openness have been energizing the country’s cultural scene.

Ithra, the Arabic word for ‘enrichment’, is in Dhahran, in eastern Saudi Arabia near where the first oil well was discovered.

The 85,000 square meter King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and the surrounding 220,000 square meter Knowledge Park have “created a space to inspire the imagination.”

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