The Tin Man (Noah Lawrence), Dorothy (Amanda Hamilton) and Toto.
Audience members are sure to be taken down a “yellow brick road” of adventure as the students of Au Sable Valley Central School perform the 1939 classic film, “The Wizard of Oz” March 15 through the 18.
“We try to bring an element of professional theater here for the students and for the audience,” Diane White, Special Education teacher at ASVC and dance choreographer for the play, said. “There will be at least 100 costumes, flying actors, lights and dedicated actors to bring this story to life.”
The play contains a cast of 60 students and a crew of 10 students from the elementary school through high school. It will be held at the AuSable Central School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on March 15, 16, and 17, and there will be a 2:30 p.m. showing on Sunday, March 18.
Lead characters in the play are Amanda Hamilton as Dorothy, Emma Healfgot as the Wicked Witch of the West, Teesha Coolidge as Glenda the Good Witch, Cody Langley as Scare Crow, Noah Lawrence as Tin Man, and Sebastion Pray as the Cowardly Lion.
The cast and crew will be adapting the 1930 classic film to stage for members of the community. White said the story of the “Wizard of Oz” was more of a challenge to bring to the stage since it was a movie made into a play and unlike the plays done in the past.
“Unlike most of our plays the ‘Wizard of Oz’ was a play adapted from a movie so there were many staging challenges,” White said. “Most people know this story through the movie and what our students are doing is adapting it for the audience.”
Healfgot said the challenge of bringing her “wicked” character to life was an exciting task.
“At first I wasn’t sure where to bring her, I don’t consider myself a mean person, but with practice and time I’ve been working on the character,” Healfgot said. “I took her from the character I grew up with to be a frightening witch with a twist of dark humor.”
The play will be packed full of airborne stunts and pyrotechnics and lights Collier said.
The students have working with Flight by Foy, a Las Vegas based production company that manufactures flying harnesses and equipment to allow the actors to “fly” starting March 2. The Flight by Foy crew provides actors with the equipment and training to develop flying effects for the show. Flight by Flow brings flight to actors on broadway as well as working with the small schools for plays such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Peter Pan,” and the “Wizard of Oz.”
“The (Flight of Foy) crew began practicing with our students this week, working on safety, landing and how to coordinate the routines,” White said.
A 12-piece orchestra will also accompany the actors as they move from Kansas to Oz and back again. The members of the orchestra are faculty members of the school and will be led by Karen Becker.
Music teacher Collier said most of the lead cast have been working with him and White since elementary school. Some of the students were inspired to further their studies in college. Senior Sebastion Pray, plans on studying Art Education and Theater next year at an undecided university.
“I feel acting is the most important form of characterization and you can express so much through theatrics,” Pray said.
The challenge of portraying the cowardly lion was one Pray took full force, adapting the character to him instead of the other way around.
“I didn’t want to copy the character everyone has seen over and over again,” Pray said.” So I studied the character and adapted the character to fit myself, he won’t be so galumphy as we all know him, instead I portray him as more cowardly and shy.”
The students have been working since the beginning of January, practicing singing, dancing, and their dialogue Collier said. Parent volunteer and mother of the two students actors, Michelle Wesley said the students have worked very hard over the last few months and the end result will be mind blowing.
“This might blow some people away when they see how much theses kids have put into this play and how hard they worked,” Wesley said. “It should be a really great show.”