WATERVILLE — Weezie Bowker had searched high and low for a Tin Man costume for Waterville Senior High School’s performance of “The Wizard of Oz” and had given up after coming across a series of disappointing and inauthentic costumes at stores and online.

She had resolved to make the costume herself and sought out materials at the Charles B. Davis Company, a sheet metal wholesale and manufacturing shop on Burleigh Street.

Her effort paid off, but not in the way she had thought it would. Shop owner Jim Grenier surprised her with an offer to construct the costume.

“I’m very conscientious about school money, and I didn’t want to spend a lot, but he said, ‘I’ll make you one,” said Bowker, the costume designer for Waterville Senior High School’s drama club. “When I went to pick it up at the end, I said, ‘How much do I owe you?’ and he said, ‘Nothing.'”

The costume, with its bendable arms and legs and silver chest piece, is the perfect costume for the part, according to Bowker and others involved in the production, which runs through Saturday.

It also came at the perfect price since Grenier, who built the costume, refused to be paid for the piece.

“We wanted it to be as close to the movie as possible,” said 17-year-old Alan Baez, who plays the Tin Man in the production. “I think it compares pretty well.”

Baez and Bowker visited with Grenier more than a dozen times to make sure the costume fit him just right.

“He even built some of it on me so it would be my size exactly,” Baez said.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous and quite functional,” said Gayle Giguere, the high school drama club director. “He didn’t even charge us, which is lovely, because we have a high school budget. I just can’t say enough about it.”

Grenier could not be reached for comment late Friday, but Bowker said the school community wants to thank him for all his hard work on the costume.

“He said he felt it was his civic duty and that he just wanted to do something to help the kids since they have worked so hard,” Bowker said.

The show, which is being performed at the high school’s Trask Auditorium, opened on Thursday and runs through Saturday.

“It was a little rough around the edges, but opening night is always like that,” Baez said of Thursday’s performance. “I’m really excited about tonight and tomorrow. I think the show is only going to get better.”

“The set is gorgeous, the costumes are amazing and the acting and singing is pretty superlative as well, so we would really encourage people to come out,” Giguere said.

“The Wizard of Oz” starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Trask Auditorium at Waterville Senior High School. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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