By Kathy King Johnson
One early morning in March 2011, Midge Shaw’s phone wouldn’t stop ringing. The Cheboygan High School musical director climbed out of bed to get the phone call she never, ever in her life expected to get. The Opera House called. They said, “Hey, we’ve got two tons of steel they’re trying to drop off on our doorstep and if you don’t do something with it right now, we’re going to send it back.”
Two tons of steel beams arrived early. It was vital to the production of Cheboygan Area High School’s 2011 musical “The Wizard of Oz.” It would take some quick thinking, two tons of steel, a professional flying director, a huge commitment from the town of Cheboygan, and a big dose of poetic faith to get the show off the ground. Midge dreamed of flying monkeys.
She made some quick phone calls, raced to the Opera House and had the metal stacked and stored with the help of some friends. Her next surprise arrived the following morning. World-renowned flying director Stu Cox showed up at 7 a.m. with dreadlocks down to his waist and a kilt down to his knees. Cox staged the Stratford Festival’s “Tommy,” the “American Idiot” musical by the rock band Green Day and countless productions worldwide of “Peter Pan.” He also directed the opening ceremony for the International Children’s Games.