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Carlynton producer's final project an American classic

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
The lead roles in Carlynton's 'Wizard of Oz' are played by (from left) Tyler Piper, Tin Man; Caleb Staker, Scarecrow; Maggie Smith, Dorothy; and Clay Bodnar, Cowardly Lion. The musical will be performed April 10, 11, 12 and 13.
The lead roles in Carlynton's 'Wizard of Oz' are played by (from left) Tyler Piper, Tin Man; Caleb Staker, Scarecrow; Maggie Smith, Dorothy; and Clay Bodnar, Cowardly Lion. The musical will be performed April 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Flying and fire, and black and white scenes, oh my!

Those are just some of the special effects audiences can see April 10-13 in Carlynton High School's production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Director Robert James said that despite the flashy effects, audiences will recognize the show as the one they know and love.

“We're staying traditional,” he said. “We're not looking to reinvent the wheel.”

Producer Lori Dedola, who has been involved with 22 shows at the school, said there is an added pressure that comes with doing such a well-known show.

“I keep telling (the kids) that there are people that know this show word-for-word,” she said. “There's definitely a lot more pressure.”

The students agreed.

“It's a big-name show. It's got to be big. It's got to be good,” said Caleb Staker, a sophomore participating in his first musical at Carlynton.

Senior Maggie Smith said it lends a different layer of difficulty to performing.

“It's a lot to live up to,” said Smith, who plays Dorothy. “You feel obligated to stick with certain things and stay true to the characters.”

Despite the stress, students said they wouldn't have it any other way.

“We are all such a family,” said junior Natalie Thomas, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West. “You make so many new friends and develop friendships with people you wouldn't without the musical.”

Smith said the spring musicals hold an especially big piece of her heart, as her mother has been an assistant director for years. She said it will be hard to leave once she graduates.

“There are truly no words,” she said. “It hurts, especially since I practically grew up in the auditorium. I used to run around here with stars in my eyes. I knew that this was what I wanted to do. This was what I wanted to be.”

Smith is not the only one leaving. The show will be Dedola's last with the district.

“I decided it was time,” she said. “Twenty-two is a lot of years.”

Some of it, she said, she will miss.

“I'll definitely miss the kids. I'll miss being here,” she said. “But definitely the kids – they're what keep you excited year after year.”

She said she hopes students have taken from the experience as much as she had.

“I don't think there's anything like doing a high school musical,” she said. “You learn so much about yourself and others – from becoming one family and having that fantastic experience all come together.”

She has learned patience, she said, but more importantly to have faith.

“Never underestimate anybody,” she said. “Teenagers can grow so much in one year. Don't ever underestimate them.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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