A Visit to Oz

(November 1999) For me, the phrase “high school play” does not call up images of reserved seats and $9 tickets. But that’s the way it is in Skaneateles, and after you’ve paid your $18 per couple, you can see why.

The recent Wizard of Oz was swell, two acts, 27 scenes, amazing backdrops and sets (the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball really worked) and dance numbers that reminded me of Riverdance. The leads (including a girl named Bradley Benjamin as Dorothy) were wonderful, but it was Toto, played by a small child (daughter of Georgia Peach, the Village balloonist), who stole my heart, dancing just a quarter step behind the big kids and convincing me that she really was a dog.

Our daughter worked on make-up, her current career aspiration, and had a terrific time. But her best stories came from the cast party at the home of the Cowardly Lion’s parents (who hosted the First Family this summer).

After the party, she stood at the foot of our bed and in answer to my wife’s inquiry said, “Mom, I’ve got just three words for you. OH. MY. GOODNESS.”

And then she talked to us for 30 minutes, a rare treat from a teenager.

The house has three driveways. The garage would hold every room in our home. There is a receptionist, and offices for both parents. The living room is vast, the ceilings vaulted with skylights. There are many fireplaces and two kitchens. There are facilities for games, including indoor shuffle-board.

The Cowardly Lion (who is a fine young fellow) gave my daughter and her friend a tour including all the closets (his mom would have loved that), and then dropped them off at a bathroom (“It was so nice, I didn’t want to use it.”). When the girls emerged, they became lost in the halls, and began hitting the buttons on the intercom. “Stay where you are,” the Lion’s voice boomed. “We’re coming in for you.”

I asked her if she got to walk outside and look at the two pools and the long stretch of lakefront, and she said, “No. The house was secured.” It was a glimpse of another world.

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