Nearly 50 Alpena High School students are following the yellow brick road straight to the Wizard of Oz.
Members of either the cast or crew, the students are presenting L. Frank Baum's mega classic as the Masquers Club spring production. Run dates are April 28-30 with show times at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday and 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Also appearing in the show are five grade school students featured as dancers in a poppy scene and four junior high students as Munchkins. Club adviser Lisa Rhea opened the show up to other age levels to give younger students a chance to participate since drama has been dropped from the school curriculum due to budgetary constraints.
Molly Stricker as Dorothy
A $1,500 grant from the student-led Youth Advisory Council of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan made doing the show possible, Rhea said.
Rhea also said that presenting such a well-known and large scale production has presented technical challenges in terms of set.
"There are lots of challenges with different scenes. The movie is so well known so you have to make sure you have some of the elements," Rhea said. "And then just all the different costumes. Thank goodness for Thunder Bay Theatre, Alpena Civic Theatre and Rogers City Community Theatre. They have been very generous with us."
The show wouldn't be complete either without a Toto to accompany Dorothy on her journey to Oz. Ossineke resident Maggie Lamb is lending her small dog, Zippy, to fill this canine role.
"Maggie has brought the dog in for the past three weeks for dog-bonding time with every character in the play who is with him on stage," Rhea said.
The cast also will make use of a stuffed dog as needed in certain scenes of the play.
Rhea admits staging "Wizard of Oz" has been a major undertaking but that she is nonetheless thrilled that the students are able to do this classic musical.
"I think many people have a love for this show, and I am just thrilled to be doing it at Alpena High School with the talented students we have in this community," she said.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors/students. The tickets are available in advance at Neiman's Family Market, Perch's IGA, Cabin Creek, Luther Community Manor, Blue Phoenix Books, Ripley Big Boy Restaurant and Mancino's.