Students to showcase theatrical talents in Wizard of Oz adaptation

Starting the evening of March 10, the Stevenson Performing Arts Centre at École HJ Cody School will be transformed

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Starting the evening of March 10, the Stevenson Performing Arts Centre at École HJ Cody School will be transformed to host this year’s musical theatre production.

Advanced Acting students, technical crew and musicians are in their last weeks of preparation for their adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Rehearsals have been ongoing since October and the group is excited to perform.

The popular musical follows Dorothy, a young girl from Kansas, who after running away from her guardians is transported to the magical land of Oz by a cyclone. She encounters both wonderful friends and wicked foes on her journey to find her way home.

The Wizard of Oz, first produced for theatre in 1902, was originally based on The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, a novel by Frank Baum, and was adapted into the classic film in 1939, starring Judy Garland as Dorothy.

HJ Cody’s production of Oz is an extremely technical show involving many set, prop, sound, lighting and costume changes. Artistic director Jacqui Renwick feels it’s one not to be missed.

“This show is daunting when it comes to the technical aspects,” she said. “Thankfully, we have had a multitude of parents, students, family members and staff working hard to bring it all together. It truly takes a great team to put on a production of this size.

Renwick added she was particularly excited to have Art 31 students working on scenic painting and the Drama 20/30 class working on everything from prop construction to costume repairs.

Cast members have been involved in singing, acting and choreography practices for the last several months, and many are preparing for multiple roles. There are also many students involved behind the scenes, working on sound, lighting, set design and make-up.

The music will be live, provided by the school’s very own Oz band and led by music director Kerry Heisler. The band is comprised of students and community members.

Hailie Ludington, member of the band, feels the music will be a positive addition to the show.

“I think the live music adds character and allows the audience to connect to the music,” she said.

Audience members should expect a faithful retelling of the story, with a hint of a modern twist. Other aspects to keep an eye out for are the Munchkin Casts from CP Blakely, Steffie Woima, and Bowden Grandview schools, lots of comic and tender moments, and a real, live Toto!

The roles of Dorothy, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch have been doubled casted, and each actor will perform several shows.

The musical numbers will be sure to have audience members singing along with familiar tunes, and remembering famous lines such as “there’s no place like home.”

Opening night for The Wizard of Oz is Tuesday, March 10 at 7 p.m., with nightly shows as well as two afternoon matinees on Saturday, March 14 and 21. There will be no shows on Wednesday March 11, and 18.

Tickets are $12 and are on sale at the HJ Cody School main office. Patrons are encouraged to get tickets as soon as possible due to early high sale volumes.