Characters take flight in Lyndonville’s production of Wizard of Oz

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 March 2023 at 7:37 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

LYNDONVILLE – Dorothy, played by Elizabeth Whipple, is surrounded by Munchkins who sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” after Dorothy’s house lands in Oz and flattens the Wicked Witch of the East.

Lyndonville is performing the Wizard of Oz with performances at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 and available at the door or online (click here).

The district in the previous 11 years did a combined show with Medina, with Lyndonville hosting the joint program. This year the districts are back to doing their own shows. Medina did Little Mermaid last week.

Sarah Corser glides into the stage as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. She greets Dorothy and tells her she is in Oz. When Glinda presents the magic ruby slippers to Dorothy, the Wicked Witch of the West is enraged.

Corser said flying during the show, “is very, very cool.” She is one of five characters who take flight in the show.

Lyndonville has 108 students in the cast, crew and orchestra. That includes 38 students in grades 1 through 6 who are Munchkins.

Meagan Hardner is the Wicked Witch of the West who is very angry and vows retribution after seeing her sister has been killed by Dorothy’s house.

The characters fly in the show by using harnesses with wires and pulleys.

“It’s fun, and a little scary,” she said about soaring over the stage.

Hardner, a senior, thanked the Lyndonville program for putting so much effort into making the musical a success, including the aerial abilities for some of the characters. She has been in the shows since seventh grade.

“It’s a really good experience,” she said.

Amir Huzair performs the role of the Scarecrow. He sings, “If I Only Had a Brain.” He is the first friend to join Dorothy on her trip to see the Wizard. They need to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Noah Fox is the Tinman who has rusted and can barely move. He gets oiled up so he can move more easily. He sings, “If I Only Had a Heart.”

Annabelle Follman plays the role of the Cowardly Lion who seeks courage. Here the Lion sings, “If I Were The King Of The Forest.”

Amber Grabowski plays the role of the Emerald City Guard.

The great Oz, appearing as a scary disembodied head demands the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West before helping Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Lion. Greyson Romano is the voice of the Wizard of Oz in the musical.

Elizabeth Whipple, who plays Dorothy, said the musical has a strong theme about friendship and also a love for your hometown.

“Many people who graduate from Lyndonville come back because there is no place like home,” Whipple said.

She thanked the many community members for contributed to the show, from set construction, to musicians in the pit orchestra, to costumes and financial support. The Follman family also let their dog Max be in the show as Toto.

“It’s been a community effort for everything,” Whipple said. “I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”

The Wicked Witch of the West (Meagan Hardner) sends her flying monkeys – Nikko played by Amir Zimmerman and the other is Gavyn Draper – to capture Dorothy and Toto.

The musical is directed by Jennifer Trupo. She praised the Lyndonville students and the production team for putting on a “phenomenal show.”

She said more Lyndonville students are in the cast and crew in the return of it being a Lyndonville-only musical.

“We have a lot more kids involved who normally wouldn’t be,” Trupo said. “The kids know everybody. There is a whole different level of comfort.”