Langley school staging Wizard of Oz

Red shoes, a little dog and a witch – the touchstones of a popular tale being staged by Langley Fundamental Middle and Secondary School starting April 24.

Wizard of Oz the Musical will take audiences to Kansas and beyond the rainbow.

The performances feature a full stage with special effects, massive sets and costume changes, and solo and ensemble singing.

It’s a big production.

“We have 70 cast members, two sets of leads – Emerald cast and Ruby casts, for about 200 costumes,” said teacher Steve Thompson.

Shows run at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturday, April 24-26 and May 1-3.

“We have tried to appeal to almost all the senses in our staging of Wizard. We have explosions for the Wicked Witch, smoke for Oz, fireballs, wind for the cyclone, bubbles for Glinda, snow in the poppy scene, Oz’s contraption, aromas like baking cookies and a campfire, special effects projections on a 15 by 40 foot scrim, even a real dog, Parker, playing Toto,” he said. “And if you want a ‘taste’ of the show, you can buy treats at our Kansas Cafe.”

Thanks to technology there will be flight.

“Nobody really flies as it’s too costly but we do use projection as a special effect with green screen techniques for Glinda, the monkeys and the cyclone scene,” Thompson said.

The school is staging the popular Royal Shakespeare Co. version which follows the music and format of the 1939 film.

“Our director, Dianna Fast loves the show and we thought the appeal is ideal for all ages, timely because of the recent Broadway staging and 75th anniversary of the movie, plus it is very well suited to our Grade 6 to 12 school for casting younger Munchkins to older leads,” Thompson said.

It certainly is a challenge to stage a musical in a gymnasium but the school manages to do it with the help of large team of community volunteers and the expertise of some rigging and lighting professionals, he said.

“Our student technical team is like working with professionals and they put in hundreds of hours to prepare the show: sound, website, video, special effects, lighting, stage design and much more,” he added.

Front row seats or rather front row couches are $20 per person and ticketholders here receive complimentary beverage and snack service.

General seating is $12. Seniors (65 plus) and children (under 12) pay $10 per seat.

The 1 p.m. matinees are general seating and cost $10 per ticket ($8 for seniors and children.

Tickets purchased online will have a service fee as well.

Tickets at the door are $15 ($12 for seniors and children) but people risk not getting tickets if they wait.

The show is at the school, 21250 42nd Ave.

Purchase tickets at the box office (in the school) 2:45-3:45 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the north foyer of LFMSS.

For more, go to www.wizardmusical.ca or call 778-775-8843.

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