Performance was absolutely superb!
With the Wicked Witch’s cackle still echoing through the Elk Point Allied Arts Centre, the cast of The Wizard of Oz: Young Performers’ Edition took their final bows on Sunday afternoon, April 30. Actors aged seven to seventeen delighted audiences at two performances of the classic American story of Dorothy and her dog, Toto, and their adventures in Oz.
Produced by LoAnne Smith, with musical direction by Quinn Shelton and general direction and choreography by Jessika Clarke, the play was polished and professional throughout – a fabulous credit to all who contributed to its success.
Time and effort put into rehearsals paid off for all of the cast, who appeared to be at ease in front of audiences full of families, friends, and neighbours.
Alexa Berlinguette (13) starred as Dorothy. Whether she was singing solos, meeting strange characters, or reciting, “There’s no place like home” to provide time for costume changes, Berlinguette gave a very confident performance.
Jorja Theriault (13) transformed easily from motherly and compassionate Aunt Em to graceful and good witch Glinda who appeared to magically float across the stage.
The most memorable sound in the play, the witch’s cackle, was perfected by Caleia Ng (16), who had numerous opportunities for cackling as the crotchety neighbour, Miss Gulch, and as the Wicked Witch. Aside from acting, Ng and Berlinguette choreographed the Witch’s solo, and assisted in directing the play.
Despite their differences, the good witch and the bad witch were sisters. Just before the intermission, Theriault and Ng wowed the audience with their harmony in the song “For Good” from the Broadway musical, Wicked.
Josef Theriault (12), as the Cowardly Lion/Zeke, introduced some comedy to the play. Theriault researched and rehearsed his character, accurately modeling his movements and voice on Bert Lahr, the actor who played this role in the 1939 movie.
Scarecrow/Hunk was brought to life by Andrew Richer (15), who shuffled and tumbled as only a man filled with straw can.
The Tin Man/Hickory, played by Amanda Reimer (17), began motionless and stiff, but with a little oil and friendship loosened up and sang, danced, and clanked down the Yellow Brick Road.
Saige Hardcastle (11) aka Toto, had few lines, but captured the lovable dog whose antics got Dorothy into trouble more than once.
Jove Boorse (9) showed how Professor Marvel/the Wizard of Oz could befuddle and bamboozle the citizens of Oz, but could not fool Toto and Dorothy.
As Uncle Henry, Spencer McNamara (12) provided the quiet strength of a man who is uncomfortable with emotion. Most of the cast had more than one role, and McNamara also played the doorman who tried to turn Dorothy and her friends away from the Emerald City.
Citizens of Oz, monkeys, winkies, jitterbugs, munchkins, tots, trees, crows, tough kids, and a variety of other characters were played by Heath McNamara (11), Lauryn Smith (10), Darianna Boorse (11), Ella Smith (9), Charleigh Kelly (12), Halle Moroziuk (9), Kylie Young (12), Mariah Ng (9), Victoria Ng (7), Cloey Germain (10), Zxayven Pelech (10), Anna Henderson (9), Ashley Lecopoy (10), Elizabeth Smith (8), Lexee Smith (9), Rian Skarsen (9), and Jessica Smith (10).
The actors brought energy and excitement to the stage, creating a very entertaining event and proving that dramatic talent is abundant in our local youth!
Of course, a show can’t go on without many hands offstage. Siblings, parents, grandparents, and community members designed and built the sets, found or sewed the costumes, and kept the scenes organized and fluid.
Audience members enjoyed special treatment as Tigers’ Pride Ambassadors from Elk Point Elementary School welcomed the patrons and ushered them through the gates of Oz and down the yellow brick road. And there was food – popcorn, pretzels, hot dogs – the old theatre stand bys. In fact, the entire event was an event indeed!
Special note: on Sunday evening Myrna Fedorus won the $675 50/50 draw and donated $600 of her winnings back to the program.