There’s no place like home:
Yellow Brick Road to see the Wizard of Oz in Williamsville East’s production of “The Wiz.” Senior Anna Kresse will be portraying Dorothy, who lives on a farm in Kansas. She says her character, who is used to tedious farm life, has always wanted more.
“When she least expects it, it kind of happens.”
After a tornado sweeps up the farmhouse, with Dorothy inside, she lands in an emerald green field. The Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy that her house has fallen on the Wicked Witch of the East.
“It’s not what you’re expecting if you’re expecting ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Kresse said in reference to the music.
She describes the production’s music as having soul — that it’s both funky and groovy.
Throughout Dorothy’s journey, Kresse noted that her character learns to be grateful for what she has.
“No matter what happens, your home is always your home,” she said.
Kresse encourages families to come out and see the show.
“You never know what song, or what character or what line will be poignant for you. And, you don’t know what’s really going to leave a mark on your heart and really speak to you.”
Lizzy Bamford, also a senior, will be in the role of Aunt Em. She says her character is a staple in Dorothy’s life as she wants what’s best for her.
She believes the number “What Would I Do if I Could Feel?” stands out because it’s sentimental.
“It’s kind of when they all realize that this is what life is about,” she said. “Life is about friendship, life is about living every day to the fullest - it’s about all the small beautiful things.”
Toward the end of Act I, Carter Richards, who stars as the Tin Man, performs this song.
Richards said he’d like to dedicate the number to his dad, Robert, who passed away in April.
“I feel him with me even more than I do at any other time.”
Richards describes his character as an “old soul.” He noted that the Tin Man’s ligaments become tin after the wicked witch puts a spell on his axe.
The senior was in the school’s drama club for four years.
He said he’s happy to be playing a character who’s going through a new generation, as he will be doing the same.
Sophomore Adam Kluge portrays the Scarecrow, who is the first person Dorothy meets on her journey.
The Scarecrow has an energetic and upbeat personality and has the unfortunate idea that he’s without a brain, he said.
Kluge believes his character is symbolic of confidence and self-awareness as he increases the validation of an individual’s ideas.
His favorite scene is when the cast members perform “Ease On Down the Road.” Kluge says it’s done numerous times throughout the play and represents the characters moving toward their goal.
Sophomore Anthony Lafornara will star as the Lion. He says the Lion comes off as mean and big, but the audience will also get to see him as a “scaredy cat” who has no courage.
“He’s the comic relief of the show,” he said.
Lafornara enjoys the song “Everybody Rejoice,” because it’s a moment in the show when all the cast members come together.
He says audiences can look forward to Dorothy’s relationship with the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow.
“As the journey progresses, I think that they really become one close family.”
“The Wiz” will take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, and Friday, Feb. 5, and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at Williamsville East High School, 151 Paradise Road.
Prior to Saturday’s show, a meet-and-greet, for children 12 and younger, will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the school. Children can play games with cast members and enjoy light refreshments.
Tickets will go on sale Thursday, Jan. 21. They cost $10 for reserved seating and can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school. Tickets will also be available at the door on the show dates.