'Wizard of Oz:' Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Ludlowe High this weekend

Can Dorothy, Toto and their three traveling companions escape the Wicked Witch of the West?

Will they make it to the Emerald City?

Can Scarecrow find a brain? The Tin Man a heart? The Cowardly Lion courage?

You know the answers, but it's all about the journey.

And 100 Fairfield Ludlowe High School students will take audiences on that journey -- from Kansas to Oz, along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City and back -- in three performances of "The Wizard of Oz" this weekend.

The Ludlowe stage production is based on the iconic, 1939 MGM musical that won Academy Awards for best musical score and best song. The film was nominated for four other Oscars, including Best Picture.

Performances in the Ludlowe auditorium are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25, and at 2 and p.m. Saturday, April 26.

Tickets are $8 and may be purchased at the door or reserved in advance by emailing artistic director Frances R. Kondziela at fkondziela@fairfieldschools.org.

The fantasy follows the adventures of Dorothy Gale, a Kansas farm girl who is seemingly swept up by a tornado and lands with her dog Toto in the magical land of Oz. There, she encounters a community of tiny people called Munchkins and becomes fast friends with three fumbling characters -- the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion -- who become her traveling companions.

They set out along the Yellow Brick Road for the Emerald City, hoping that a wizard there -- The Great and Powerful Oz -- can help Dorothy and Toto get back home to Kansas. Along the way, however, they encounter dangers -- including the Wicked Witch of the West and her evil squadron of flying monkeys.

In the film, a 16-year-old Judy Garland played Dorothy and sang "Over the Rainbow," a role and song that would define her.

More Information
What: Fairfield Ludlowe High School's production of "The Wizard of Oz."
When: Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 26, at 2 and at 8 p.m.
Where: Fairfield Ludlowe High School auditorium, 785 Unquowa Road.
Tickets: $8 at the door or reserved by emailing fkondziela@fairfieldschools.org.

Other popular songs from the show include "We're Off to See the Wizard," "If I only Had a Brain," "If I Were the King of the Forest" and "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead."

In the Ludlowe production, Erin Valade stars as Dorothy. Her traveling companions include Will Powers as the Cowardly Lion, Tim Dutter as the Tin Man and James Purcell as Scarecrow.

Other key players include Brigitte Dale as the Wicked Witch of the West, Katie Middleton as the good witch Glinda and Matthew Peters as the wizard.

In addition to artistic director Kondziela, the production's creative team includes music director Kevin Cotellese, scenic designer Roger Mudre, choreographer Simone DePaolo, costume designer Sonia Otharsson and lighting designer Matt Pagliaro.