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'Wicked' success spurs 'Wizard' road show

Mia Capone, 13, portrays Dorothy in Plaza Theatrical

Mia Capone, 13, portrays Dorothy in Plaza Theatrical Productions' traveling outdoor performance of the "The Wizard of Oz." She and her cast mates, Giovanni Pinto (Tin Man), Cowardly Lion (T.C. Weiss) and Scarecrow (Patrick Rosenberger) visited Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing Wednesday. (July 27, 2011) Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Summer on Long Island means sunbathing, surfing and, for one group, a trip down the Yellow Brick Road.

Plaza Theatrical Productions, a Lynbrook-based traveling theater company that formed in 1983, has been performing a rendition of “The Wizard of Oz,” visiting local camps and parks.

It was 80 degrees out Wednesday when the cast visited Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing — a big improvement from last week’s oppressive three-digit temperatures. T.C. Weiss swore he lost 10 pounds last Wednesday donning the Cowardly Lion’s costume at New Hyde Park’s Memorial Park while performing the children's musical.

But the suffering is worth it. Weiss, 28, of Floral Park, said the company has seen a rejuvenation in the 100-year-old story since the 2003 premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s Broadway hit “Wicked,” which turns the Oz story on its head by telling it from the perspective of the Wicked Witch, Elphaba.

“We actually had a high school come to one of these because they were going to see ‘Wicked,’ and their teacher wanted the comparison of what the show originally was,” Weiss said. “We’re also finding out that a lot of audience members are having a lot of compassion for our Wicked Witch now.”

At 6 p.m. Sunday, the cast will give a free performance of “The Wizard of Oz” at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow for the 2011 Eisenhower Park Summer Concert series. The show will take its final bow of the year at a free 7:30 p.m. performance Aug. 9 at Greis Park in Lynbrook. “Dora the Explorer” will take over as the company’s children’s musical.

“I like the traveling theater because you get to see all of the different places and a lot of different people,” said Baldwin’s Mia Capone, 13, who is cast as Dorothy, a dream of hers since she was little. “It’s a fun time. I love it.”

For more information about all performances, visit



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