'Wizard of Oz' opens Friday

Cast members from “The Wizard of Oz” ham it up for the camera. They include (from left) Hannalee Cleveland (Wicked Witch of the West), Maddy Callahan (Scarecrow), Olivia Chilson (Dorothy), Lauren Kosek (Toto), Maddy Hulslander (Tin Man), Haley Bower (Cowardly Lion) and Rosalie Ladd (Glinda, Good Witch of the North).

WELLSBORO — More than 100 students will take part in the Rock L. Butler Middle School’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

This Young Performers’ Edition is a one-hour adaptation of the classic tale of Dorothy, a Kansas farm girl who travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home. This production includes 86 actors, nine stage crew and six high school interns, a total of 101 students

Heather Ladd, an art teacher at the school, is directing the production.

“I chose the Wizard of Oz for a few reasons,” said director Ladd. “This play has a lot of parts, and I want the students to be as involved as possible. It is also a really fun show, with lots of colors, movement and great recognizable songs.”

Olivia Chilson takes on the lead role of Dorothy, who with her dog Toto (Lauren Kosek) and three friends Scarecrow (Maddy Callahan), Tin Man (Maddy Hulslander) and the Cowardly Lion (Haley Bower) travels across the magical land of Oz to the Emerald City. There, they will ask the Wizard of Oz for help. They will be aided by Glinda the Good Witch (Rosalie Ladd) to overcome the obstacles thrown in their path by the Wicked Witch of the West (Hannalee Cleveland).

Along the way they meet winged monkeys, wild trees, Ozians, jitterbugs and more.

“I hope the audience will have a lot of fun watching the students on stage singing and dancing,” said Ladd. “We have lots of amazing sets and beautiful costumes. Since it is a show written for middle school students, they take the original musical and condense it. It is going to be just over an hour long, so it is geared to families. We love having kids in our audience and we love big audiences.”

Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, in the Wellsboro High School auditorium. There is no intermission.

“The students are doing an amazing job. They work hard, and are a truly energetic bunch,” said Ladd.

Tickets are $5 for everyone, except children 5 and under, who are admitted free.