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1:14 PM Mon, Nov. 19th

'The Wizard of Oz' meets Santa in unique musical

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>“Dorothy and the Candy Cane Lane” plays at the Elks Opera House 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>“Dorothy and the Candy Cane Lane” plays at the Elks Opera House 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

PRESCOTT - With three taps of her ruby-red snow boots, Dorothy leaves the Land of Oz - or rather the North Pole.

"It's 'The Wizard of Oz' with a twist," said Donna Casey, owner of The Dance Studio that produced the Christmas extravaganza "Dorothy and the Candy Cane Lane."

The 120 performers from the studio and RhythMotion Dance Troupe take the audience on a host of twists and turns during the two-hour show.

"They all travel through different lands to get to Santa Claus," said Casey, who directs the show that plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 14 and 15, at the Elks Opera House in Prescott.

Dorothy, played by Ashleigh Votava, is still Dorothy in this production, although she wears ruby snow boots instead of her famous ruby slippers during her quest for the Wizard - who is Santa Claus. The Scarecrow is portrayed as Frosty the Snowman; the Tin Man is the Nutcracker; and the Cowardly Lion is the Snow Monster.

"It is one of my favorite movies of all time," said Votava, 20, who has been re-watching "The Wizard of Oz" in order to perfect her role as Dorothy. "It's been a lot of reading, dancing, and staging to get ready."

Casey and her staff created six winter sets, complete with snow and trees, to offset the actors' dazzling array of colorful and whimsical costumes. And where Casey goes, music and dance follow - jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop and contemporary.

"Ninety percent of the music is Christmas songs," she said. "But we've got rockin' music. I want to put some swing into the songs."

The show's plot follows the original movie - sort of.

"The Grinch steals all of the presents from Santa's sleigh, and Santa gets Dorothy to help him get the presents back," Casey explained. In exchange, Santa promises to take Dorothy home and give her three friends a heart, brain and courage.

In one of the plot twists, rather than a balloon, Santa offers Dorothy a ride in his sleigh - although the trip does not go as planned.

"I love this play - it's so fun to watch the characters evolve with each other," said Sadie Posey, 13, who acts and dances as the Snow Queen. Sadie recently won Advanced All-Star at the Dupree Dance Competition at Mesa, and next year travels to Chicago to compete.

Her brother, Dyson, 17, does double-duty as Santa and the Grinch - playing both sides of the conflict.

"The audience is going to have a blast," said Dyson, who also teaches at The Dance Studio. "This is a unique undertaking. It's fun and lighthearted and mixed with some of the best dancing you'll ever see."

Dorothy and her crew travel on Candy Cane Lane, which replaces the yellow brick road, on their journey to the North Pole through Elf Land, Winter Wonderland, Candy Land, Christmas Tree Forest, Poinsettia Field and the Grinch's Cave.

"I just love the Wizard of Oz. I've seen it a million times," said Katie Boggs, 18, who plays Frosty the Snowman.

Tickets cost $13 at the door, and are also available online at elksoperahouse.com.