Head off to see the wizard

North Medford High School's Black Tornado Theater opens L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Sjolund Auditorium.

The play, the final production of the school year, will also be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 1 p.m. Saturday. John Doty, North Medford's theater teacher for the past eight years, directs.

The production is a version of the Baum 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 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 2 staff as pit musicians; and a student stage and make-up crew of 16 under the guidance of the stage manager, Southern Oregon University student Veronica Sherry. One North 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.

Harry & David, Al's Cycle Shop, Runway Fashion Exchange, Baci's Pizza and Red Robin have all made donations in support of the production.

Reserved seating tickets are available online at seatyourself.biz/nmdrama. Prices range from $10 to $15. Audience members can also walk up for "Pay What You Want" general admission seats at the door before the show, based on availability.

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