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St. Kilian Players Present Wizard Of Oz

Starting July 26, the St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale will feature a production of the hit musical, The Wizard of Oz. 


Based on a classic tale—first penned as a children’s novel by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and later transformed into a major motion picture by Metro-Goldwyn Meyer in 1939— The Wizard of Oz tells the story of a girl named Dorothy Gale, played by Zoe Neyer, and her dog Toto, who after being thrown into a twister end up in the Land of Oz. 


Trying to find her way home, Dorothy meets Glinda the Good Witch of the North, played by Angela Roedig, who instructs her to “follow the Yellow Brick Road.”


The Roedig family is well represented in this production with her son Thomas performing in the ensemble and daughters Danielle, Mary and Theresa performing as Scarecrow dancers.


Along the way, Dorothy meets three traveling companions in need of help. There is a scarecrow, played by Steven Cottonaro, a Cowardly lion, played by Ed Brancato, and a Tin Man, played by Brian McKenna. 


However, McKenna is not completely relying on the Wizard to find a heart. He is also getting help from his two daughters, Theresa and Grace, who were practically raised on the St. Kilian stage.


“I attended rehearsals every summer and would make friends with all the young kids in the cast and when not on stage, we would have fun playing together,” Theresa said. 


But, the four travelers are not alone on their quest as they encounter the Wicked Witch of the West, played by Kathy Cruickshank, who attempts to intimidate Dorothy into giving up her ruby slippers. 


Perhaps, Cruickshank should have asked her sister Karen O’Rourke, who plays Auntie Em in the production, and grandchildren Meghan and Annie for help. 


Traveling the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy and friends finally arrive at the Emerald City where the gatekeeper, played by Bob Kuppelmeyer, tries to discourage the travelers from seeing the Wizard and ultimately getting home. Under the direction of Tina Lauro, who first began with the St. Kilian Player family in 1991, producer Lynda Diurno, who started in the SKP’s first production of West Side Story in 1988, and assistant director/costume designer Cynthia Neyer, this classic musical comes to life on the St. Kilian stage. 


“The SKP are a true Christian community as they are compassionate, tolerant, and encouraging” says Diane Coleman, mother of Nicholas, an autistic cast member. “Everyone has bad days and when

Nicholas has one, no one shuns him but rather says ‘you’re having a bad day today, but tomorrow will be better.’”


The production is already causing a lot of excitement in the community, with everyone involved anticipating a most wonderful and delightful peformance by the SKP. 


Showtimes are July 26 at 7 p.m., July 27 at 2 p.m., Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m., and Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. The performance will be held in the St. Kilian auditorium on Cherry Street in Farmingdale. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the church rectory at 485 Conklin St. during normal business hours. Or call 516-249-0127 for reservations. Tickets will also be sold at the door prior to showtime.