ECHUCA’S Lewis Beer will make his debut performance at the Regent Theatre next month when The Wizard of Oz opens in Melbourne.
Which is pretty significant for the 22-year-old as it is where he watched his first professional production of the musical 16 years ago.
But this time around, he will be on stage — performing as part of the ensemble in scenes including Munchkinland, The Emerald City and The West.
‘‘I’m so excited to walk through the stage door and perform at the Regent,’’ Lewis said.
The Wizard of Oz is finishing its season in Adelaide before opening in Melbourne on May 12 after successful shows in Brisbane in November and Sydney in December.
‘‘It’s going amazingly well and audiences are loving it,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to the Melbourne season as I’ll have a lot of my friends (from Echuca-Moama) in the audience.’’
Described as ‘‘a visual treat’’ and ‘‘impressively lavish’’, the show stars Anthony Warlow as The Wizard and Professor Marvel, Lucy Durack as Glinda the Good Witch and Wicked’s Jemma Rix as The Wicked Witch of the West.
And Lewis, a former student at St Joseph’s College and Suzanne’s School of Dance, is the understudy for the Lion.
Although he is pretty confident he won’t be needed, ‘‘it’s nice to know they trust me to play the Lion’’.
But performing an average of eight shows a week has been a challenge.
‘‘It’s taxing on your body and emotional stamina,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s an industry where you have to invest in yourself to get the most out of the work.
‘‘The more of yourself that you put into the work, the more alive it becomes.
‘‘We have to make munchkins and winkies truthful so you have to put a lot into it.
‘‘So winding down after a show is challenging.’’
Lewis said he had grown immensely as a performer in the five months spent preparing for the musical to open.
‘‘I have a habit of writing down things I learn after each show,’’ he said.
‘‘I acknowledge I am still growing and can still learn something new.’’
The Wizard of Oz is in Melbourne for a 12-week season and tickets, priced from $69.90, can be bought from ticketmaster.com.au