... off to see the Wizard

North Medford High School students stage 'The Wizard of Oz' this week
Hannah Whitney stars as Dorothy and is joined by Wicked Witch of the West Celia Johnson and a host of local elementary school kids who will play the roles of Munchkins, monkeys and guards in this week’s North Medford High School production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Mail Tribune / Jamie LuschJamie Lusch

North Medford High School's Black Tornado Theater will present "The Wizard of Oz" in four performances this week in the school's Sjolund Auditorium.

John Doty, North Medford's theater teacher for the past eight years, is the director.

"This is the largest show we've attempted in the time I've been here," Doty said in a release, "with more student actors, more running crew, more musicians, more kids, more animals."

The production is a version of Frank Baum's story, adapted for the stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988 from the 1939 MGM film. The story finds young Dorothy Gale transported from her uncle's Kansas farm into a fantastic world, Oz, in the aftermath of a tornado.

The cast features sophomore Hannah Whitney as Dorothy, with seniors Ricardo Cervantes as the Scarecrow and Daved Yun as the Cowardly Lion and sophomore Garrett Bond as the Tin Woodsman. Senior Celia Johnson is featured as the Wicked Witch of the West, while sophomore Moriah Sucraw is her opposite, Glinda the Good Witch.

Rounding out the company are 15 local elementary and middle school students as Munchkins, monkeys, and Winkie guards; 20 North Medford High School students in supporting and chorus roles; 22 students and two staff members as pit musicians; and a student stage and makeup crew of 16 under the guidance of the stage manager, Southern Oregon University student Veronica Sherry. One North Medford administrator makes a cameo appearance, seen from the knees down.

In addition to Doty, the creative team includes music director Kendra Taylor, conductor Steve Kessler, choreographer Brianna Gowland, lighting designer Greg Coleman, scenic designers Spencer Funk and Bri Owens and dramaturg Jordan Freed.

Reserved seating tickets are available online at seatyourself.biz/nmdrama. Prices range from $10 to $15.

Audience members also can choose "Pay What You Want" general admission seats at the door before the show, based on availability.


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