Mount Abe going over the rainbow with fall play: ‘Wizard of Oz’

BRISTOL — In presenting Mount Abraham Union High School’s version of the time-tested classic “The Wizard of Oz,” the production team, cast, crew and potential audience members alike bring a collective memory and experience to the play that seems unlike many other musicals.
While the characters, songs and settings of the production — presented this Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15-17. at Mount Abe — are those made famous in the well-loved MGM movie, there are additions, some made by the Royal Shakespeare Company of London, which re-staged this show in 1987, some drawn from the Andrew Lloyd Webber revival of 2010 — and some just plainly drawn from the brains, hearts and nerve of the 135-plus cast members and their talented, dedicated supporting cohort of about 50 adults.
Auntie Em and Uncle Henry (Katrina Smith and Jacob Giles) provide a stable home base in Kansas originally. Adeline Crosthwait, Taylor Allred, Tyler Jewett and Ethan Allred portray that most classic friend-foursome of Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. They travel to meet Oz, the great and powerful (Niko’a Salas), pulled back and forth, through good and bad times by Glinda (Isabelle McGrory-Klyza), the Witch of the North, and the Wicked Witch of the West (Jocelyn Bedell). Dozens and dozens of Munchkins, Flying Monkeys, Winkies, Jitterbugs, Crows, Trees, Poppies, Snowflakes and Citizens of Oz contribute to this journey — with special effects, and in very entertaining ways.
This all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The story seems so simple and so well known that the lasting significance may not be apparent. Many articles and research projects have come from considering the meaning of the Yellow Brick Road, the tornado, and other symbolic aspects of Oz, but the kernel of truth is that the script starts out in a totally real place and real time, and then literally spins the characters (and the audience willing to go with them) off into a myth — and true storytelling is myth building, even for a few moments. When done well, you feel as if you are inthe story, in the moment.
The adventure is worth the investment, the outcomes are worth the risks — positive statements for any age, any November. The cast and crew of Mount Abe’s “Wizard of Oz” are counting on your consideration of these well-known adages, as well as your discovery of some twists to keep for your memories-in-the making.
Tickets are $11 for adults and $7 for senior citizens and children under 12. They are available in the Mount Abe main office (453-2333) and at Art On Main in Bristol. Those needing special arrangements for seating due to visual, hearing or mobility issues should contact the Mount Abe office.
Editor’s note: This piece was contributed by Martha Chesley and Anne Gleason.

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