Jerry’s Habima Theatre is Georgia’s only theatrical company directed and produced by professionals, featuring actors with special needs ages 18 and up. For 24 years and counting, the company stages a Broadway-style musical, and this year’s production is “The Wizard of Oz.”
"City Lights" host Lois Reitzes spoke about the musical with Susie Davidow, who will soon retire after 16 years as the director of the Marcus Jewish Community Center’s Blonder Family Department for Special Needs, which includes the Habima Theatre. They were joined by Margaret Wyatt and her son, actor Sean Wyatt.
Sean, who has Down syndrome, plays Toto in this year’s musical. He was first introduced to the Habima Theatre in middle school, and Sean said “when I turned 18, I wanted to be a part of this theater.” Sean’s mother, Margaret, says her son has benefited from the experience.
“His self-confidence has just skyrocketed. He has learned problem-solving skills. He takes more responsibility at home and at school, and he has just really blossomed.”
While the actors and professionals clearly learn and grow from their involvement, Davidow adds that the audiences benefit as well.
“They get to see people perform to the best of their abilities, and they don’t see disabilities. They just see actors.”
Jerry’s Habima Theatre at the MJCCA presents “The Wizard of Oz,” on stage Thursday, Saturday and Sunday March 9 through 19.