Review: The Wizard of Oz
Updated: Feb 5, 2018
by Reagan Rodgers
Personally, I've never been a huge fan of the movie version of Wizard of Oz. However, when I heard the school was putting on the musical, I couldn't help but anticipate watching the colorful world of Oz be brought to life.
The cast could not have been better selected by directors Lydia Robles and Justin Tristan. Senior Amber Mawande-Spytek, known for her talent of playing a wide variety of characters, did not dissapoint. This role was no different for her, as she played the lead yet again as Dorothy. Her vocals in this role were, of course, excellent in each song.
The Cowardly Lion is arguably the funniest, most accurate portrayal, played by junior Jonah Reilly. Reilly is known for being perhaps the most over-the-top, perfectly dramatic character in each show. He has one moment that had each and every audience member wiping tears of laughter out of their eyes, but I won't spoil why, because it's that genuinely funny.
Senior Maya Clark played the Scarecrow, and did the role justice, as well as performed vocally very well. This is quite arguably her best performance in theatre thus far. Senior Jeremy Marmolejo performed as the Tin Man, and his metallic movements looked incredibly realistic. He did a splendid job in this role.
Many minor characters, however, truly stole the show. Senior Jamee McDaniel, though playing several roles, somehow managed to capture the audience in each and every one of them. There was also a delightful herd of elementary students that were able to participate in the show, and took the show from funny to funny and cute. Other familiar faces on the stage are senior Jade Evink, juniors Ellie Follis and Serenity De Leon, as well as a massive amount of new additions to the theater department this year.
Toto, played by a real dog, was perhaps the biggest comic relief. In all moments, the dog was doing something that kept the audience laughing, like stealing a hot dog from senior Isaac Gonzalez, who was at the time portraying Professor Marvel. Gonzalez then went on to play the Wizard of Oz himself, and nailed the English old man accent.
Another character that left the audience roaring was junior John Blair, who has an extreme level of attitude in every scene he took part in, especially as Uncle Henry, who had a few choice words for senior Lea Bohnenberger's character, Miss Gulch. Bohnenberger also played the Wicked Witch, and nailed the cackle to a point where I thought I was watching the movie. She was absolutely stunning in this role and couldn't have done better if she tried. Bohnenberger was opposed by a quite opposite character of Glinda the Good Witch of the North, played by senior Julia Montgomery. The few times we heard Montgomery sing, her voice sounded incredibly similar to that of the movie's Glinda, and it was clear a large amount of work went into the role.
This show was the first in several years that featured both the band and choir. The addition brought the story to life in a brand new way that most of us hadn't experienced before.
The set was the most elaborate and well done the school has had in many years, and watching the scenery magically change from the farm in Kansas to Oz all while Dorothy is being spun around in circles on her bed was quite intriguing. The set designers and crew were clearly well trained and very versed at their jobs. They even managed to pull off several changes that took about a minute, including somehow getting the face paint of the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man off in a very short time with a complete costume change.
The only issues with the show were technical difficulties and a few slip ups with some lines and cues, but all are expected to be fixed at the last two shows. Apparently, the show had not been run all the way through without any interruptions before the performance Friday evening, which made it all the more impressive.
The house was nearly filled at the first show, and will likely continue to be so at the next two. As the curtains closed, there was a standing ovation and whistling and cheering as the characters re-entered the stage. As Robles gave her concluding speech, it was clear how touched each cast and crew member was by the audience, and it was clear how amazed the audience was with each cast and crew member. The next two shows are not ones to miss, and tickets are available for pre-sale at Gift and Gourmet and at Court Street Coffee Shop, which is highly suggested as they're going fast.