Oz in Altamont

Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, in conjunction with the Classic Theater Guild, is bringing one of the most beloved books and films of all time to the stage with a production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, at 6 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 3, at 4 p.m.

The production is a part of the second annual Helderberg Theater Festival, which kicked of the previous weekend and also features William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," as well as two short plays, "Authors" and "All in the Timing."

The show is being co-produced by Charles Treadwell and Peter Velenchia, who formed the Classic Theater Guild five years ago in order to bring not-for-profit local theater to the New Scotland/Voorheesville area.

After their first performance in the area two years ago, the two contacted Indian Ladder Farms, which agreed to be a venue for subsequent productions.

Velenchia, who also portrays the roles of Uncle Henry and the Wizard, is particularly excited for the production.

"It's terrific, and [the farm] has been fantastic. It's a beautiful site," said Velenchia.

The show is based on L. Frank Baum's popular book, taking some aspects from the film version. While theatergoers shouldn't expect any musical numbers or flying monkeys, Dorothy's legendary ruby slippers will remain intact.

The show has also obtained great press from around the region, and Velenchia said they have received a great number of interest and donations for the upcoming festival. In addition, a local electrician has donated his services to provide power for the outdoor stage.

Indian Ladder Farms staffers are even getting in on the act: Retail manager Lauren Welton will be playing the roles of Aunt Em and Glinda the Good Witch. She speaks highly of the show's cast, which includes Tracy Helf as the Wicked Witch of the West and young Emma Sprotberry as Dorothy. Sprotberry in particular has wowed Welton.

"She's absolutely wonderful; she never leaves the stage," said Welton. "For someone so young to learn that many lines is amazing to me."

Theatergoers are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets for the free performance.

For more information, contact Indian Ladder Farms at 765-2956, or the Classic Theater Guild at 441-2876.""

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