Funky monkeys and munchkins are coming to the Strand-Capitol with the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the whole gang.
But Dorothy won't be leaving Kansas for just another production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Students from across York County will be performing in New Hope Academy's production of "The Wiz," a modern spin on the classic musical.
"The Wiz" is the first show being put on by New Hope, said Cal Weary, director of New Hope's performing arts program. The program replaces the one run by York City schools before it was canceled because of budget cuts.
"If you're used to going to high school shows and being bored out of your mind, we can promise you that you won't be bored," Weary said. "I am an extreme flibbertigibbet, and I cannot stand being bored."
In addition to students from New Hope, the cast includes students from York City, West York, Central York, Northeastern, Lincoln Charter and York Academy as well as homeschooled students and college students from HACC, Weary said.
Urban 'Wizard': "'The Wiz' is an urbanized version of the classic 'Wizard of Oz,'" said Weary.
It uses jazz and funk-based music and expands on the themes and messages of the original.
There are some major differences between the original and "The Wiz," said Weary.
"In 'The Wiz,' the realization
for Dorothy is that home is inside of her. She literally becomes the Aunt Em character for all of the other characters," Weary said.
The show's choreographer, Lavon Holland, has danced in several Broadway musicals, including a production of "The Wiz" in 1993.
Holland has been in several other Broadway productions, including "West Side Story," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita" and "GodSpell."
"'The Wiz' will be a little bit of everything -- a little jazz, modern and African dancing," said Holland.
Some of the students have dance experience. But for others, this is their first show, said Holland, so they are learning different concepts of rehearsals.
"Working with Lavon has been incredible," said Weary. "Her style is very similar to mine. She moves fast, gets everything done, and then tweaks."
Long rehearsals: Since auditions in February, the 80-member cast has been practicing daily at the Strand-Capitol for the show, with eight-hour rehearsals on the weekends and three hours on weekdays.
"They're ridiculously long, but it's cool. They're coming together," said Raven Fink, a New Hope sophomore. "We learn a lot from them."
New Hope sophomore Ashley-Rose Shaw said, "It's an amazing show. A lot of work had to be put into it, but it always turns out great."
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com.