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The wonderful wizard of ... Saranac Lake

November 8, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Forget Judy Garland.

This week, Saranac Lake High School seniors will present their own version of "The Wizard of Oz."

Co-director Kent Streed adapted this version of the classic story, and it's based more on the 1900 L. Frank Baum book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," than the popular 1939 movie adaptation with Garland peforming the lead role of Dorothy Gale.

Article Photos

From left, Dorothy played by Erin Ryan, Toto played by Emma Miller, the Cowardly Lion played by Lyle Baillargeon, and the Scarecrow played by Sean Orman, get directions for where to find the Wizard of Oz from the Emerald City guard, played by Hudson Gray.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

That means Dorothy, played by Erin Ryan, will wear silver slippers rather than ruby ones.

It also means Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow (Sean Orman), Tin Man (Alta Wamsganz) and Cowardly Lion (Lyle Baillargeon) and her dog Toto (played by Emma Miller when the characters are in Oz and a real dog when Dorothy is in Kansas) proceed through their journey in just under an hour.

"So they move quickly to the Emerald City," Streed's co-director Kathleen Bullard said during a rehearsal last week.

The show also has fun elements like the Wizard of Oz's face being projected onto a screen when he's trying to be intimidating, a Glinda the Good Witch of the South who glides across the stage on Heelie roller skate sneakers, and the whole cast breaking into the Gangnam Style dance, a pop-culture phenomenon based on a South Korean dance single, to celebrate the Wicked Witch of the West's melting demise.

Bullard said Streed thought the play would be a good idea since Petrova Elementary School Principal Josh Dann likes his students to come see the play so they can see the potential for things they can do in high school. The cast was set to perform the production for the upper elementary school students Wednesday afternoon.

Most of the seniors acting in the play have never been on stage before, so that was another good reason to put on a familiar production.

"It's not a hard show to learn," Bullard said.

Mikayla Ploof, who plays the Wicked Witch, said the show has been fun to work on.

"We all get along, so we're like a big family," Ploof said.

Vanessa Salamy, who plays Glinda, agreed, saying the play has got her hanging out with people she never thought she would before.

They also enjoy Streed's adaptation of the show, after growing up only being familiar with the movie.

"I think it's crazy, like in a good way though," Ploof said.

"It's bizarre," Salamy said.

"It's Oz-some," said Hudson Gray, who plays the Wizard of Oz (and the Emerald City guard). "It's different from the movie, but it's also a lot funnier than the movie."

Gray said he's having a good time with his goofy portrayal of the role.

"I've always related to this character, because I'm a goofball in real life," Gray said.

This is Gray's first time acting, and he said he's enjoying it so much that he wishes he had started doing theater earlier in his school career.

"The cast has been fantastic," Gray said. "It's just been tons of fun."

The public presentations of the show run at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Friday in the Saranac Lake High School auditorium. The show runs just under an hour with no intermission. Tickets are $5 for general admission.

There will be a collection jar at the door to buy books for Holiday Helpers.



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