LINWOOD — Pack those ruby slippers, its time to head down the Yellow Brick Road as Belhaven Drama Club presents an entertaining rendition of the L. Frank Baum classic, “The Wizard of Oz” this week. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 12-14 plus a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, April 14.

Directed by Lindsey Burton, of Egg Harbor Township, with assistant director music teacher David Lamkin and musical director Debbie Roland, music educator at Margate’s Eugene A. Tighe Middle School, there are more than 80 students in the cast. Most of the major roles are double cast to give as many kids as possible their time in the spotlight.

The stage crew is working with teacher Christine Flanagan to make sure everything and everyone is in the right place. Props were made by volunteer Chris Pedulla and Belhaven teacher Pete Davis with some help from the inventory of vintage Mainland After Prom props. Belhaven art teacher Robin Moore worked with parent volunteers to create a field of flowers that are along the Yellow Brick Road and add a bright touch to the front of the stage. Dennis Herman, of Margate, is the sound director for the show and introduced himself to the cast by telling them he required one very important thing from everyone in the production: “Have fun.”

Assistant Director David Lamkin said there were a few shows under consideration, but they ultimately chose the “Wizard of Oz” because they knew there would be so many strong voices coming out for the show it would be something they could handle, and Oz offers so many interesting roles for the young actors. Lamkin said 20 members of the cast are in eighth grade, with many having plans to stick with drama once they move on to Mainland next year.

As the crew ran through the scenes at Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, they proved that they have been paying close attention to the directors. The tornado scene is a wonderful segue that stretches the action and the audience from Kansas to Munchkin Land.

Ella Osbeck and Megan Welsey share the role of Dorothy. The Cowardly Lion is played by Joseph D’Alessandro and John Santoro. The Scarecrow is double cast with Kendall DeMorat and Tati Waxman. The Tin Man is shared by Xander Matik and Tristan Miller. Glinda is Andrea Long and Sarah Thomas. Auntie Em is played by Savannah Hodgins and Cassidy Thomas. Olivia D’Alessandro and Mia Gagliardi share the role of Elvira Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West. One of the few solo roles is the Wizard of Oz, who is played by Cristopher DellaFave.

Fifth-grade student, Mazi Salartash was all smiles in a purple bowler and sporting a colorful bow tie for his role as the mayor of Munchkin Land. “The show is really a lot of fun,” the young actor said.

Parents were busy hanging chains of paper flowers near the entrance while others plastered the foyer with a photo of each member of the cast. The route to the Yellow Brick Road and Belhaven’s production of the “Wizard of Oz” is set, curtains up at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14. Tickets are $5 and available at the door. Belhaven Middle School is at 51 Belhaven Ave. in Linwood, entrance on Wabash Avenue.

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