Opening night is Friday at 7:30 p.m.

St. Mary’s High School first staged “The Wizard of Oz” in 1996, when the film version was not yet available in script.

At that time, St. Mary’s performed with three witches, a revolving bridge, no monkeys and no winkies.

This year, SESM is bringing the original movie version to the stage. One witch (Karlie Heiderscheidt) is accompanied by Dorothy (Bethany Berkner), the Scarecrow (Mike Hirsch), the Tinman (Jordan Anderson), the Lion (Nick DeMaris) and Glinda (Molly Lax), along with monkeys, winkies, jitterbugs, talking trees and crows.

The cast of 50 students is enhanced by the additional appearance of Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, Professor Marvel, munchkins, lyrical dancers, Oz and the citizens of Oz.

Reserved seating is already sold out for Friday and Sunday’s dinner theater, but there are plenty of general admission tickets at the door.

This past February marked the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” 

Although the most watched movie of all time was released and distributed with a hefty price tag, it did not strike gold at the box office having to compete with the blockbuster, “Gone with the Wind.” 

Only later did this charming story of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Lion, the Wicked Witch, Glinda and the munchkins click with audiences of all ages around the world. The famous ruby slippers have been placed in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute. The line, “There’s no place like home,” has played on the lips of every school-aged child.