GODFREY — Alton native and writer-director Leah Becoat took her love of a childhood memory with her mother and combined it with informative years on the West Coast to recreate and modernize the timeless classic story “The Wizard of Oz.”
“The Real Land of Oz” musical will be on stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Hathaway Cultural Center at Lewis and Clark Community College. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance for $20 for adults and $8 for age 17 and younger by calling (618) 670-2395.
“When I was a child, I remember every year it was almost like an event when ‘The Wizard of Oz’ would be on TV around Easter,” Becoat said. “My mother would brush my hair and we would watch that classic story that in some way applied to everyone who watched it, no matter what their age. That’s why I had to write this show. After living in Los Angeles for a time, I thought about what Dorothy would have been like had she originally come from L.A. and simply moved to Kansas. With today’s reliability on modern technology, I wanted to bring the story up to the times and use that in the story.”
Dorothy, played by Sinaya Bruce, is a spoiled young lady living in Los Angeles who’s struck by tragedy when her mother dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken, she journeys to Kansas with her father Ozcar, played by Forrest Booth, to live with her Auntie Mae, played by Debra Riddlespriger. As life continues to bring about more struggles for the displaced Dorothy, she finds herself in a whirlwind of journeys, adventures and facing villains as she finds herself again. Dorothy still shares her trials with familiar friends such as “Tin Grin” the Tin Man, played by Carl Crumer III; Leo the lion, played by Garland Moore; and Sam the Scarecrow, played by Courteney Wilson Jr. New friends join the story such as Witchipedia, referred to as “Wicky,” played by Angelica Jones.
“This story shares the story of the Wicked Witch of the West as well as the good witches of the North and South,” Becoat said. “I think the audience will really enjoy Angelica (Jones); she’s really becoming a fan favorite. We hope the audience will like this modern twist on a classic story and will find today’s fads and trends amusing.”
Otis Redditt Jr. is the musical director and worked closely with Becoat to develop the sights and sounds to bring her childhood dream alive.
“Otis is an amazing artist,” Becoat said. “I feel very fortunate to have him working with us on this show. He’s very talented and his skills will help bring the story to life. We’ve always had music in our family and I’m excited to do our first musical. I’m thrilled to partner with Lewis and Clark Community College for the production of ‘The Real Land of Oz’ and I really look forward to our next musical, titled ‘Noah,’ that will be on stage in December.”
Cast in order of appearance
Sinaya Bruce: Dorothy
Debra Riddlespriger: Auntie Mae
Courteney Wilson Jr.: Sam/Scarecrow
Carl Crumer III: Tin Grin/Tin Man
Garland Moore: Leo/Cowardly Lion
Angelica Jones: Witchipedia/Wicky
Tahler Holloway: Will
LaFondria Toni Booth: Miss Almira/Wicked Witch of the West
Tracy Webster-Cooley: Sophie, Good Witch of the North
Adrien Oliver-Reed: Sasha, Good Witch of the South
Forrest Booth: Ozcar/Oz
Crow 1: Syrr Collins
Crow 2: Elanna Hickman
Otis Redditt Jr., musical director