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West Springfield High School The Wizard of Oz

By • May 8th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

How far would you go to find happiness? Across the county? Across the state? Across the country? Well, West Springfield High School shows us that true happiness can not be found “over the rainbow” because there is truly no happier place than home!

The Wizard of Oz was originally published by Frank L. Baum by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900. Since then, it has been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which was the name of both the 1902 stage version and the 1939 film version. This story became a huge part of American popular culture following the success of the MGM movie version in 1939. Being one of the best-known stories in the pop culture world, it has been performed on many stages, including Broadway.

This musical tells the tale of a wayward young Kansas farm girl, Dorothy, who is an orphan that resides with her Auntie Em and her Uncle Henry in the countryside. When the malevolent Ms. Gulch threatens to have Dorothy’s dog, Toto, killed, Dorothy runs away from home, but gets caught in a wicked twister. She is swept away to the magical land of Oz where she meets many new friends including a Tin Man, a Scarecrow, and a Cowardly Lion. Together, they find the Wizard of Oz who helps them solve their problems.

A great show has a plethora of requirements, one of those being a powerful lead. Elizabeth Garcia, who played Dorothy, brought good characterization to her part, by using a soft, sweet voice and a curious, yet eager personality. The greatest example of this occurred when Dorothy and friends were first approached by the Lion. While the other characters seemed to have mixed emotions when threatened by the seemingly ferocious lion, Dorothy kept a quizzical expression on her face as she studied the feline spitting intimidating threats at the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. When the Lion approached Dorothy and began to menace her, she punished him with a slap across the face in a moment that had the audience thinking, “Oh, Dorothy.” Garcia’s commitment to her character was the backbone of the entire show, keeping the performance even and steady.

Another actress who kept the show flowing nice and smoothly was Brittany Morgan. Morgan, who played The Wicked Witch of the West, certainly added an element of enjoyment to the show. Although her appearances onstage were abbreviated, her distinct witch cackle would make the audience “melt” with laughter every time. Her commanding stage presence would keep the audience completely engaged with the happenings onstage, almost as if she had cast a spell on her scenes!

Out of all the outstanding actors in this show, none had energy that could trump that of Rick Leith, who played the Scarecrow. The charisma that Leith brought to his character really made this show something memorable, even if his head was made of straw! Scene after scene, Leith was constantly putting forth his best, without detracting attention from the main focus of that particular scene. The strongest example of this is in the song “If I Only Had a Brain”, where Leith’s great personal charm is combined with his impressive singing voice to make for a strong scene.

Without a doubt, West Springfield High School put on an astounding performance that leaves me with nothing left to say except, “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!”.

by Vincent Zhao of Lee High School

Photo Gallery

Elizabeth Garcia, Miranda Tower Elizabeth Garcia, Molly Keeter
Elizabeth Garcia, Miranda Tower
Elizabeth Garcia, Molly Keeter
John D'Angelo Brittany Morgan
John D’Angelo
Brittany Morgan
Rick Leith, Emily Becker and Abby Ngalle
Rick Leith, Emily Becker and Abby Ngalle

Photos by Catherine Ariale

The Wizard of Oz (RSC version) produced with special permission of Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. New York, NY. Special Flying Effects by ZFX Flying Effects, Huntington Beach, California

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