Culture: Wizard of Oz show has a modern feel

Set for stage: Lead roles are filled by Serena Suen is Dorothy, Adam Cattell the Scarecrow, Elizabeth Dinh the Tin Man, Cassandra Barberis-Leon, the Lion and Marcus Lee the Wiz. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Set for stage: Lead roles are filled by Serena Suen is Dorothy, Adam Cattell the Scarecrow, Elizabeth Dinh the Tin Man, Cassandra Barberis-Leon, the Lion and Marcus Lee the Wiz. Picture: Gene Ramirez

At rehearsal for Cherrybrook Technology High School's musical production of The Wiz, one director wears a shirt that bears the slogan: "Keep calm to follow the yellow brick road".

A cast of more than 100 students and a complex score are part of their energetic retelling of The Wizard of Oz.

"The plot doesn't really deviate and all the characters you'd recognise from the film are there, but the way they are costumed and played is very different," director Dan Jones said.

"Dorothy is funkier and The Wiz is a lot more colourful and flamboyant than the Wizard people are used to."

Director and choreographer Lisa Holt said cast and crew were excited to see the show come to life after rehearsals that began in October.

"We wanted something that was upbeat and had the ability to have a larger cast, to give as many kids as possible the opportunity to be part of the performance experience," Ms Holt said.

"A production of this size and a score so big is tough for even professional musicians but we're really proud of our students.

"They're doing a great job."

Year 11 student Serena Suen plays Dorothy and wears red glitter high-top sneakers shipped from Chicago on stage.

She said it was a challenge to play a well-known character, but she felt this Dorothy was more modern: "Everyone can watch this musical, it's really family-based and fun because the songs are more upbeat," she said.

The Wiz is at Cherrybrook Technology High School, Purchase Road, on June 3, 5, and 7 at 7pm. Tickets: $15 adult, $10 children, or $45 family. Bookings: http://www.cherrybrok-h.schools.nsw.edu.au

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