The Saratoga Sun -

The Wizard of Oz

SM/HS presents the story of a girl, her dog, a witch and a wizard Sunday


Joshua Wood

The Wicked Witch of the West confronts Dorothy and her companions.

It can be hard to find someone who isn't familiar with "The Wizard of Oz." The book, written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900, influenced the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland. On May 12, the Saratoga Middle/High School (SM/HS) Drama Club presented their own rendition of the famed children's novel. Despite it being 119 years (almost to the day) since the book was published, the Saratoga Sun will still issue a spoiler warning.

As the curtain opens, the audience is introduced to Dorothy Gail, played by Takoda Pedersen, as she runs onto stage to plead to her Uncle Henry, played by Jason Illig, and Aunt Em, played by Emily Mills. Following Dorothy is Miss Gulch, played by Bethany Illig, who demands the family turnover Dorothy's dog, Toto, for biting her. Miss Gulch goes off stage, warning Dorothy that she will get her "and her little dog, too."

The curtain closes on the first scene as Dorothy sings about "somewhere over the rainbow" before a tornado bears down on the Kansas farm that she calls home. When the curtains open, again, it is clear that we're not in Kansas anymore. Glinda the Good Witch, played by Jaden Campbell, arrives to greet Dorothy and inform her that her house has ensured the demise of the Wicked Witch of the East.

The Wicked Witch of the West, played by Leila Randall, doesn't take this news well as she interrupts the Munchkin's musical number. Her search for the ruby slippers worn by her sister, however, is unfruitful when Glinda informs her that Dorothy is now wearing the slippers. The only solution to Dorothy's problems is the Wizard of Oz, and so she sets out on the yellow brick road.

As she heads down the yellow brick road, the first encounter Dorothy has is with the Scarecrow, played by Jenna Cornwell, who isn't doing a whole lot of scaring crows. On the contrary, the crows are on stage left making jokes about Scarecrow's intelligence-or lack thereof. The crows, in fact, are just the first of three pairs of animals offering witty remarks and mocking Dorothy's companions as she meets them.

When Dorothy meets the Tin Man, played by Loran Mills, rusted in position due to the rain, a duo of wiseguy owls greet both her and the Scarecrow. Later, when we are introduced to the Lion, played by Jensen Mills, two mice remark that he is afraid of them and, with the help of a mirror, himself.

Of course, "The Wizard of Oz" wouldn't be what it is without its musical numbers. The cast did a wonderful job of performing "If I Only Had A Brain," "If I Only Had A Heart," "If I Only Had The Nerve," "If I Were King of the Forest" and more. Watching the students perform the musical pieces brought back memories of the classic movie.

Upon arriving "In The Merry Old Land of Oz," the four travelers are quickly cleaned and prepped before meeting the titular Wizard of Oz. Before the wizard will help them, though, they are tasked with stealing the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. When they attempt the broomstick heist, however, they are captured.

Joshua Wood

Miss Gulch, played by Bethanny Illig, gives Dorothy a warning about her dog.

In an attempt to save her friend the Scarecrow from burning, Dorothy quickly dumps a bucket of water on him-and the witch, causing her to melt. With the witch dispatched, the heroes return to Oz where they meet the real Wizard of Oz, played by Kaitlyn Campbell. The wizard grants the Scarecrow a diploma, awards the Lion the triple cross and gives the Tin Man a heart.

Dorothy is informed by the wizard and Glinda both that all she needs to do to return home is to tap the heels of her ruby slippers three times while repeating "there's no place like home." Dorothy awakes in her bedroom, back safely in Kansas, with a bump on her head, but surrounded by her family. She remarks that there really is no place like home before the final curtain closes.

It is no easy task to put on a play, but the SMHS Drama Club did a great job with their version of "The Wizard of Oz." Directors Kailey Hytrek and Kieran Neville presented it well and all of the actors did a wonderful job. This reporter looks forward to what the drama club will be presenting next school year.


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