The powerful silver slippers, unmistakable characters, and, of course, the long and winding yellow brick road.

Join the Palmerton Area High/Junior High School Drama Club on their quest to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The club will perform their rendition of The Wiz! at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday in the high school auditorium. The cost of admission is $5 for students, and $8 for adults.

Drama adviser Brent Harris said the decision to do the production came about because "the club was looking for something fun that would bring a new set of challenges this year."

"The Wiz! is a much bigger production than the shows we have chosen in the past, allowing more students to participate in more areas than in years before," Harris said. "Our club is growing, and this show provided avenues for everyone from seventh graders to high school seniors to get involved."

Harris said The Wiz! follows the traditional story of The Wizard of Oz pretty closely. It was adapted in the 1970s to include a more modern musical tone, and to update some of the comic roles throughout Dorothy's adventure, he said.

The show opens up in Kansas, where Dorothy has her encounter with the tornado. She is then carried off to Oz, where she meets a wide variety of characters in her attempt to find her way home. Ultimately, she meets up with the Wizard, who promises to send her back to Kansas if she can kill the Wicked Witch, known in this version of the tale as Evillene.

Harris said the students "have dedicated more time and effort this year than I have ever seen before with this club. The show demands more than anything we have done before, and the students have been more than willing to oblige. Our rehearsals run three days a week, and Stage Crew works the other two."

"Many of our students are involved on both sides of the show, and have dedicated a steady three months, with very few days off to putting this production together," he said. "As always, our upper classmen have provided an excellent example for our younger students to follow in the coming years."

The main characters, along with the students who will portray them, include: Dorothy, Michayla Doherty; the Wizard, Ben Winn; the Scarecrow, Craig Peters; the Tin Man, Macie Hourt; the Lion, Ricky Getz; Evillene, Carolann Green; Addaperle, Abby Emes; and Glinda, Emel Rasim.

Harris added "our goal with this show is to expand upon our possibilities as a club. The past few years, we have tried to stick to shows with few set pieces and backdrops to focus on the acting aspects of the performance."

"This year, we decided to work a little more on the staging of the show and, although it has been a challenge, are proud of the work we have accomplished," he said. "We are also looking to build a bright future for the club, and this show allowed us to provide roles for the many students who are now showing an interest in the group."

The Drama Club, Harris said, has had the fortune to work along side the school's Future Business Leaders of America organization this year. For this production, he said the FBLA will be selling snacks and refreshments during intermission, which will be available at the School Store after the conclusion of Act 1.