The Big Four make it back from the Emerald City to find that Toto hasn't been blown home by the tornado in this 21st Century edition of the OZ saga. Maybe it was the shoes, but Aunty Em is busting Dorothy for not cleaning her room. Now that the Scarecrow has a brain, he declares he's been thinking. He thinks a dog is a bad idea. The Tin Person is reluctant to travel, being stalked by Dog the Bounty Hunter with a Recall Warrant for faulty parts.
Oz Nation will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 at The Southwest Community Center, 401 South Ave., Syracuse and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Carousel Center Atrium. Both performances free and open to the public.
Produced and directed by Walt Shepperd, it's typical Media Unit: lots of dances, songs rearranged or rewritten, an original script: a snappy half hour with environmental messages in collaboration with CENTRO, OCRRA and the folks working to clean up Onondaga Lake.
With oil hovering at $100 a barrel, Tin Person must explore, with rap and rhythm, alternative fuels. Scarecrow has to sort recyclables in his cornfield trashed by crows. Lion needs to convince the audience she's not really mean and her companions that the bus is really easy, safe and inexpensive.
Topping the teen cast as Dorothy, Lydia Allen, 15, from Cortland links the performance to its predecessors, belting "Home" and "Somewhere over the Rainbow." As Lion, Nadine Alexis, 17, from DeWitt, proves a loyal sidekick. Although now a brainiac, Evan Rohadfox, 16, from Jamesville, still has trouble standing upright. Tin Person, Joseph Corallo, 17, from Cicero, shows no rust as a high stepper. Gretta Allen, 9, from Cortland, provides comic relief as the flock's single crow.
In a special guest appearance, veteran local headliner Karin Franklin, as the Wizzer, provides a climax to the adventure with "If You Believe." Aunty Em, in puppet form, is brought to life by Marita Hughes, 17, from Camillus. Choreography is provided by Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell, Hanni Schwarzlander, John Whitmore, Stacey Owen and Tamara Reese. Leslie Archer served as vocal coach and provided musical writing and arrangements. Sound Design is by Sarah Orr.