By MIKE CHAIKEN
Bristol Central High School’s Footlights heads over the rainbow this weekend as the troupe offers up its take on the classic tale of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The show opens on April 4 and continues through April 6.
Senior Schae Beaudoin takes on the role of the iconic “Dorothy,” the little girl who is tossed over the rainbow by a twister and lands in the wonderful world of Oz.
Dorothy is one of those enduring characters of literature and film.
Schae said Dorothy has such an enduring appeal because she is someone “who stands up for what she believes in. She never backs down and she never gives up hope, no matter what situation she’s caught in. She’s a very strong character, even though she still has child-like qualities about her. She’s gentle and innocent, but at the same time, she’s fearless and outspoken.”
The story of “Oz” finds Dorothy making friends along the way as she tries to find her way back home.
“Dorothy sticks by her friends through the entire story,” said Schae. “She’s very loyal and always does anything she can to help her friends. There’s never a moment where she doubts them or gives up on them, even though they all struggle at some point.”
As for the enduring appeal of the story of “The Wizard of Oz,” Schae said, “I’ve loved ‘The Wizard of Oz’ for as long as I can remember. Personally, I love the fantasy aspect of the Land of Oz. It’s so colorful and has all these creatures that are so unique. Between the Munchkins, flying monkeys, Emerald City, talking scarecrows, tin men, lions and trees, I’m amazed every time I watch it. On top of that, the songs are so iconic. I’ve always sang along.”
As the actress who has to take on the role of the ingénue from Kansas, Schae said, “I think both Dorothy and I are alike in that we realize how important the people surrounding us are. The importance of close friends and family is the biggest lesson Dorothy learns.”
But Schae said there are also differences between her and her character in the Bristol Central production. “I think we’re different because Dorothy’s a bit more defiant than I am. I think she stands up to every authority character in the show at least once.”
The BCHS production features a full stage of young performers. And Schae said, “I think this particular cast has a great mix of people who are experienced on stage and people who are completely new to theater. Regardless of experience, everyone’s learned something throughout the process and everyone’s very committed to their characters.”
As for the Bristol Central Footlights’ approach to the story, Schae said, “For most of the show, we’ve kept it very true to the story that everyone knows. However, we have thrown in a few quirks that make our production unique from any other version of ‘Wizard of Oz.’ I don’t want to give away any surprises, but I definitely think there’s a few moments we created that will entertain our audience.”
Audiences should turn out for the show, said Schae because, “There’s so much young talent in this show. It’s a great opportunity to see young people in our community perform. I think it’s evident that everyone’s put a ton of work into this show. And like I said before, we have our own little surprises for anyone who comes to see the show.”
Bristol Central Footlights presents “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for youths under 18.
By MIKE CHAIKEN