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'Wizard' a familiar friend at DLT

DUNCAN  With an opportunity to direct an American classic, Eric Bradford knew what he wanted to do in scripting and staging "The Wizard of Oz"  virtually nothing.

After all, how and why would you make radical changes in a beloved cinematic success that has delighted generations of people young and old around the globe?

That's why, when Duncan Little Theatre's production of "The Wizard of Oz" begins a two-weekend run at the Simmons Center in Duncan, almost everyone in the auditorium will be familiar with what they will hear and see.

Which is just what Bradford hoped when he chose to base the DLT production on the 1939 Academy Award-winning movie starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan and Margaret Hamilton.

"Right from the start," Bradford said, "I made a commitment to do a production that was true to the original movie. When the audience sits down and watches the stage, it will be like watching a giant TV screen that's filled with familiar characters and a story line that everyone will know."

Because it's a live performance, some liberties are taken with the script and staging based on L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book.

Bradford, who has directed several shows for Duncan Little Theatre, most recently "Fiddler on the Roof," does admit, "I made a couple of personal touches to the script and because they fit a stage performance."

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