Drama department begins production of “Wizard of Oz”

Alexis Megdanoff, Editor in Chief

The “Wizard of Oz” will be performed on the Ruby Zima stage on Nov 5, 6 and 7 as the annual Children’s Play. This is the first time it has been produced at FHS in more 10 years.

“I have never directed the ‘Wizard of Oz’ here, but I have directed the musical with the Fenton Village Players,” Theatre director Lori Thompson said. “I also have directed the musical production called ‘The Wiz’ at Powers Catholic, but I’ve never really done the children’s show version of it here, which makes it nonmusical–although we will be adding music to it. It’s just lively and fun and fantasy-like and certainly brings in a lot of audience which is always helpful with ticket sales.”

Students auditioned for several roles and were given the role that Thompson believed to be the best fit. The roles are decided based on students’ performances during various types of characterization activities and exercises that take place over the three day audition process.

“I don’t know if I can say exactly why the Lion is the is the best fit for me, that’s really up to Mrs. Thompson, but I believe it’s how I portrayed the character that got me the role,” junior Frisco Alvarado, who will be playing the Cowardly Lion, said. “To portray the lion I used his characteristics. He’s called the cowardly lion so I had to showcase his cowardly side. He tries to be this tough guy but he just can’t do it so I had to showcase that as well. To stand out over everyone else, I had to be over the top with my character because, again, this is a show for kids so the more over the top you are, the better.”

WOZAuditions_EricaPHOTO Erica Kolanowski

The role of Dorothy was given to senior Leah Lynch. Lynch auditioned for both the Wicked Witch and Dorothy because of their varying characteristics.

“I auditioned for the Wicked Witch because it would be a super fun role because of her voice and the really crazy way you can play her. And Dorothy because I’ve never played a character like her, young, innocent and naive.” Lynch said. “I think the ‘Wizard of Oz’ is a great choice. The kids will love all of our eccentric characters and will hopefully be able to relate to Dorothy a lot.”

The children’s play evolved from what was called “An Evening with Santa,” which was a Christmas production started by Ruby Zima that played every year for 25 years. The drama department decided to stop the Christmas play after it went through a shifting period. They decided to fill the spot with something for young children.

“A lot of people assume when it’s called the Children’s Production or play that it’s young kids performing it and it’s really youth theatre,” Thompson said. “It’s meant to be performed for children and so it will be all of the high school students performing for the younger kids, although we’ll have some younger one performing as munchkins.”