VERNON-The Highland Stage is ready to present an American classic family entertainment for its annual musical. The Wizard of Oz, based very closely on the famous MGM film, and using the same songs, performs July 16, 17, 18, 23, and 24 at Vernon Twp. High School's air-conditioned auditorium. Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m. The July 18 performance is at 2 p.m. The show, directed by Melissa Boyle Fitch, features Brittany Beattie as Dorothy, Billy Start as the Cowardly Lion, David Gandy as the Tin Woodsman, and Michael Moss as the Scarecrow. Kelly Barfoot gives life to the Wicked Witch, while The Wizard himself, and Glinda, the good witch, are played by James Rutzler and Jen La Monica, respectively. The play is stage managed by Cristin Rutzler. The company's producing director, William Donald, designed the lights and set, which includes a full-stage tornado effect. Musical Director Jon Hartlage and Choreographer Alicia Citro have collaborated in creating the show, which includes a large cast of varied characters and, of course, Munchkins. This play represents the first regular production by this company in the Vernon High facility since the company began operation in February of 1997. While the company is based in Vernon, its musicals have performed at times in Franklin and Sussex. The company's founder and leader created the theatre program at Vernon High in 1985 and built it to become the best in the state by the time he left in 2000 for a four-year stint as the arts administrator in Teaneck. Tickets for The Wizard of Oz are $18 adults, $12 seniors and children under 12. There will be general seating. For ticket reservations or group information, call 973-875-3039.