Thomas S. Wootton High School The Wizard of OzBy Cappies • Mar 29th, 2012 • Category: Cappies
Few musicals are as beloved to audiences of all ages as The Wizard of Oz. The adventures of Dorothy Gale and her motley crew of allies have captured the hearts of generations of children and their parents. With iconic songs, dazzling special effects, and boisterous performances, Wootton High School presented a fresh and dynamic version of this classic show.
The Wizard of Oz, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg and book by John Kane, is based on L. Frank Baum’s book of the same title. This adaptation was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987, and borrows heavily from the 1939 Judy Garland film version. It is the story of Dorothy Gale, a headstrong girl from Kansas who runs away from home and finds herself in the magical land of Oz. With the help of an unlikely group of friends, she must seek the help of the Wizard and avoid the wrath of the Wicked Witch if she ever wants to see her distant farm again.
Kayli Modell had big shoes to fill in the crucial role of Dorothy, but she stepped into the role effortlessly, bringing a welcome warmth and sweetness to her portrayal that firmly established her as the heart of the story. Her melodious voice soared in her magnificent version of “Over the Rainbow,” but she displayed equally impressive vocals in other, less well-known songs.
As Dorothy’s closest companions, the Scarecrow (Adam Uslan), Tin Man (Landon Fleishman), and Lion (Mitchell Myers) proved themselves to be a tremendously talented trio. All three demonstrated exceptional mastery of characterization that manifested itself in different aspects of their performances. Uslan was an expert physical player, who threw himself into every dance step with aplomb while still maintaining the loose carriage befitting his straw figure. Fleishman also demonstrated admirable physicality through the stiff gait of the Tin Man, along with supreme vocal talent. The tentative, gentle tone of his speaking voice emphasized the shyness of his character, and he extended this tenderness into his pitch-perfect songs beautifully. Last but not least, Myers was nothing short of uproarious as the Cowardly Lion. His gift for comedy was on full display in “King of the Forest,” where his choices of inflection drew laughs from the audience, while at the same time flaunting his considerable vocal range.
Other supporting players distinguished themselves with memorable performances as well. Elgin Martin was delightful as the Guard, playing his role with a brightness and energy that was sometimes lacking from other members of the ensemble. Lauren Goldberger was another standout as the cantankerous Miss Gulch, commanding the stage during Dorothy’s time in Kansas.
Wootton’s production was filled with astonishing technical elements that added to the grandeur of the show. Special effects were nothing short of mind-blowing, including smooth execution of onstage flying, ominous clouds of smoke, and believable snow falling from the ceiling. The ambitious number of sets was incredible, each creating an appropriate atmosphere for the multitude of locations, from Kansas to Munchkinland to the Emerald City. The orchestra was incredibly polished, not only playing their parts flawlessly but also covering for onstage mistakes without missing a beat.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale wants nothing more than to go back home to Kansas. However, unlike the heroine of the play, the audience left wishing they could stay a little longer in the enchanting world of Oz, thanks to Wootton High School’s bewitching production.
by Madelyn Paquette of McLean High School
Photos by Joe McCary
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