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Follow the yellow brick road

Pam BoydVail CO, Colorado
AE Wizard of Oz SM 3-22-07
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EAGLE – It’s arguably the best-known story in popular culture and this week, the Eagle Valley High School Players will put their own twist on the famed classic “The Wizard of Oz.”EVHS will stage the musical Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with a 7 p.m. curtain. There will also be a matinee performance at 1 p.m. Saturday.Under the direction of Cathy Strickler and Pat Sheehy, the musical is an ambitious project for the high school. The musical includes 70-plus cast and crew members (more than 10 percent of the entire student body) and 30 set changes. There’s the logistical challenges of melting witches and dancing munchkins. And, of course, there’s the difficulty meeting audience expectations when they are so familiar with the material.

“Everybody has an idea of what the show is supposed to look like,” said Thomas Carlin, student lighting director for the production.”But at the same time, you want to make it your own,” Lana Hymes, student staging director, said.Ultimately, the cast and crew have taken a straightforward approach to the material – they are letting their love for the story shine through the performance.

“I’ve been watching ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as long as I can remember. It’s my favorite movie,” said Emily Brudwick, who will be sharing the lead role of Dorothy. Brudwick will perform on Thursday night and at the Saturday matinee. Brudwick said singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is both a joy and a challenge. “I’ve been singing it forever, but everyone knows what it sounds like, so if you mess up, everyone will know,” she said.”When you are singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ you feel like you have to do such a good job with it because everyone is so familiar with it,” said Michelle Parmeter, playing Dorothy for the Friday and Saturday evening performances. Like her fellow ruby slipper wearer, Parmeter has been an Oz aficionado since elementary school.

“I really love the story. It’s such a classic musical,” she said.With costumes coming from a professional supplier, the production promises to be a spectacle complete with Munchkins, dancing poppies and flying monkeys.On Friday night, a special dinner is planned in conjunction with the musical. The spaghetti dinner, a fundraiser for Project Graduation 2007, will be served at the school from 5-6:30 p.m. Family tickets are $20, adults $7 and kids $5. And for those who just can’t get enough of those costumed residents from the Land of Oz, a character breakfast is scheduled from 8:30-10 a.m. at EVHS. Kids can brunch with the Wizard of Oz cast. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children. For tickets, call 328-5813, or contact Nickie at 328-5258.


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