A high school student and her service dog both made their acting debuts in The Wizard of Oz, and their performance is utter perfection!
Erin Bischoff, 17, attends Hasbrouck Heights High School in New Jersey. This year, Erin was cast as the lead role, Dorothy, for her school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. Erin uses a wheelchair, and her service dog, Gauge, was cast as Toto. They made the perfect duo onstage.
Erin told CBS News about her hopes for the performance.
“I really want them to just see me as anyone else who’s on the stage,” she said. “And that overall, disability should be embraced.”
Erin uses the wheelchair due to a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Over the course of her short life, she’s had over 100 bone fractures and 10 surgeries.
About four years ago, she adopted Gauge as a service dog to help her be more independent and confident. With Gauge’s help, Erin can open doors, go up and down stairs, and navigate through crowded spaces.
Erin auditioned for The Wizard of Oz earlier in the school year, and she was “shocked” when she was cast as Dorothy. The original play includes a lot of references to walking and running, but that wasn’t a problem for the school.
“They changed some of the script and threw in some wheelchair humor,” mom Michelle explained. “‘Roll on over here’ instead of ‘walk on over here.’ It made the show better. She has such a good sense of humor about it.”
See you in five years when both of these stars make it to Broadway!