Wizard of Oz

Dorothy (Natalie Rogge), second from right, enlists the aid of, from left, Scarecrow (Savanna May), Tin Man (Jake Conner) and Lion (Adam Black) in "The Wizard of Oz" playing this weekend and next at Centennial High School.

Centennial High School is back in the musical business heading down the yellow brick road for “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens this weekend.

Alicia Hammons, who in addition to teaching ninth-grade English is heading up the theater department, is thrilled to present this full-scale production 

"While they have offered some drama classes and drama club activities the last few years, there hasn't been a full production here in about eight years or so," she wrote in an email.

Hammons came on board this year after 11 years teaching English and theater at Fruitvale Junior High. To help restart the theater department, she said students put on a talent show and theater showcase in the fall, participated in the Kern Shakespeare Festival at Bakersfield College and the Spotlight Festival at Cal State Bakersfield. Centennial students were also invited to watch the San Francisco Shakespeare Co. perform at Stockdale High and will attend the Bakersfield Improv Festival at Bakersfield High next month.

This show about a girl's adventures in Oz and desire to return home features a large cast including Natalie Rogge (Dorothy), Savanna May (Scarecrow), Jake Conner (Tin Man), Adam Black (Lion), Josh Saffell (the Wizard), Jenna Ellison (Glinda) and Sophie Payne (West Witch).

Performers have been rehearsing daily since January, with some rehearsals as long as four hours, Hammons said.

"We also have many students in the production who have never been in a show before so this has been a challenging but wonderful experience for them," she wrote.

"The Wizard of Oz" plays 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 28 and 29 and 2 p.m. March 30 at Centennial, 8601 Hageman Road. Admission is $10, $8 for students with ID.

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