Theatre puts on a production of “Wizard of Oz” for Children’s Play

Emma Coffey, Writer

The house lights darken and on stage walks senior Leah Lynch, cast as Dorothy. In her arms is “Toto”, played by Liberty Winsdor and Lynch sings the famous, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” This song marks the first play of the year, a Children’s play, “The Wizard of Oz,” directed by Lori Thompson.

“We call it the Children’s Show because the focus is meant to be for the younger kids,” Thompson said. “It’s performed by high school kids, but it’s meant to be for a youth audience so that’s why we keep the production at an hour knowing that the attention spans of the children would be small.”

Because the show is meant for children, the actors must develop their characters to be extreme and animated so the children will pick up on the emotions being presented.

“When considering character development, there are a lot of challenges because when you’re doing children’s theatre you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take risks,” Thompson said. “We can’t be afraid of being that Wicked Witch or the Cowardly Lion and so they have to transform their characters and not feel inhibited.”

For junior Frisco Alvarado, who played The Cowardly Lion, inspiration from actors who had previously played his character helped him  form his character.

“For the Cowardly Lion, I got inspiration from Bert Lahr, the actor who originally played the lion in the 1939 ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie.” Alvarado said. “I added some of my own qualities to make the character my own.”

However for Lynch, this play provided an opportunity for her to play an entirely new kind of character.

“I auditioned for Dorothy because I really wanted to try an innocent character.” Lynch said. “Typically I am a sexual or boisterous character and Dorothy is the opposite of that.”

Although Dorothy is not boisterous, she does have complications at home and experiences wanderlust. Thompson compares this to the seniors who are soon to be graduating.

“Our seniors who are graduating are in the same situation as Dorothy; they are going to see the world and with that there are some good experiences and some bad experiences.” Thompson said. “They have to ask themselves how they are going to find the courage, the brains and the heart while they’re traveling and so when they do come home [from college or wherever they are taking themselves] it means so much more than it did when they left.”
The show was performed on November 5, 6, and 7. The show not only accomplished teaching the children who attended a lesson but also the students who were performing it.