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‘The Wizard of Oz’ a musical for all ages at Copenhagen

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COPENHAGEN — Twice a week, Sara Gleason has a date with 47 Munchkins.

The vocal and general music teacher at Copenhagen Central School is directing “The Wizard of Oz” for the district’s fall musical. It will be staged Thursday and Friday at the school, 3020 Mechanic St.

Dealing with young Munchkins is a different exercise from last year, when Mrs. Gleason staged “Back to the ’80s,” which was largely made up of high schoolers.

“I thought it was time for me to do a show that included various ages,” Mrs. Gleason said.

The 47 Munchkins range from second- to fifth-graders.

“They learned the songs very quickly,” Mrs. Gleason said. “They’re doing a little bit of dancing and they’re in one of the longest scenes where they get to do a little bit of acting too.”

Mrs. Gleason is assisted this year by earth science and physics teacher Angela Schermerhorn, who directs rehearsals with the older students while Mrs. Gleason rehearses with the younger children.

According to Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc., the licensing agent for the “The Wizard of Oz,” a stage version of L. Frank Baum’s story, based on the 1939 motion picture, was first presented at the Municipal Theatre of St. Louis in 1942.

A second version with book adaptations by John Kane, which followed the movie more closely, was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Centre in London in 1988.

All feature the famous movie songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”

Music and lyrics are by Harold Arlen and Edgar Y. Harburg.

“I don’t really know how to describe the music. It’s just entertaining,” said senior Christian L. Hamilton, who plays the Scarecrow.

The famous plot centers on Dorothy, played by Sara Goutremout, who, after a tornado, finds herself in Munchkinland, home of the Munchkins and the spot where she meets her famous cohorts. Besides the Scarecrow, there’s the Lion and the Tin Man.

Christian, and senior classmate Adam M. Woodruff, were in last year’s district musical.

“I like the atmosphere and getting together after school to work on the rehearsals,” said Adam, who plays the Tin Man. “You hang out with a different group of people that you normally don’t hang out with.”

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The cast of “The Wizard of Oz” at Copenhagen Central School:

Sara Goutremout as Dorothy Gale, Reba Earle as Aunt Em/Glinda, Nicholas Harris as Uncle Henry/Emerald City guard, Christopher Thompson as Zeke/Cowardly Lion, Adam Woodruff as the Tin Man/Hickory, Christian Hamilton as the Scarecrow/Hunk, Emily Sipher as Miss Almira Gultch/Wicked Witch of the West, Carlo Tan-Alberto as professor Chester Marvel/the Great Oz, Nate Aubin as Ozian Man and Haley Baisden as the Winkie guard.

Chorus: Olivia Aubin, Haley Baisden, Tucker Carroll, Erica Culver, Ashley Elias, Madison Furgison, Samantha Kallen, Mackenzie Mulder, Shania Mulder, Emily Scholler and Ashley Young.

Munchkins: Madison Uhlinger as the mayor, Anna Spaulding as the barrister and Hattie Hwang as the coroner are joined by city elders Kaitlynn Brown, Bryant Carter, Cadence Mitchell and Xander Bogert.

The Lullaby League: Courtney Johnston, Mackenzie Lee, Macy McLeod, Madalyn Munn, Jordyn Nevills, Caleb Overton, Darby Murray, Grace Scholler and Annabelle Sweet.

The Lollipop Guild: Ryan Buker, Collin Johnston, Logan Munn, Grady Petersen, Dylan Petrie and Gavin Tufo.

Villagers: Madison Allen, Madison Buker, Tavian Camper, Riley Cannan, Madison Cheek, Destiny Cheek, Nicol Chereshnoski, Mahkayla Cole, Bethany Collard, Raegan Dalrymple, Emily Elias, Brianna Evans, Ayden Godoy, Kaitlyn Goutremout, Mackenzie Howard, Hattie Hwang, Emma Johnson, Courtney Johnston, Maya McLeod, Halynn Russell, Hope Staplin, Faith Staplin, Alexis Treadway, Taryn Trwombly, Jewel Williams and Cole Young.

the details
WHAT: The Copenhagen Central School District music department presents “The Wizard of Oz”
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the district’s “gymnatorium,” 3020 Mechanic St.
COST: Tickets are $5
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