Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Episcopal High School The Wizard of Oz

By • Feb 24th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

Not all roads go to Rome. The yellow brick road leads to the Emerald City; that is the route that the audience of The Wizard of Oz follows, as Dorothy and her friends endeavor to see the Wizard. Episcopal High School’s production of the beloved story based on L. Frank Baum’s book brought Kansas and Oz to life for the audience. This production employed the 1987 script version used by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Against a simple but functional set and in well-chosen costumes, the cast ably portrayed their characters. As Dorothy, Summer Thomas showed her audience a perky young girl unhappy with her ho-hum life in Kansas. Transported to Oz by a cleverly-represented twister, Thomas meets the munchkins, played by the children of Episcopal’s faculty members. After inadvertently killing the Wicked Witch of the East, being given her ruby slippers by Glinda the Good Witch (Sarah Soderbergh), and having her first encounter with the Wicked Witch of the West (Alex Covert), she sets off down the yellow brick road to ask the Wizard for help returning to Kansas.

Thomas’ Dorothy was supported by a remarkable trio of friends. The Scarecrow, played by Eric Streed, leant beneficial energy to the show with his consistent physicality and accent. Likewise, the actors playing the Tinman (Charlie Haley) and the Lion (George Thorne) gave strong performances. They were entertaining, with outstanding comedic timing and characterizations. The rapport between the three actors in their roles as farmhands and as the magical creatures of Oz seemed genuine, and delighted their audience as they were meant to. Other notable characters were the Wizard himself (Will Frazier), who was depicted with quiet insight, and the Wicked Witch (Alex Covert). Consistent accents and wise choices in physicality were again hallmarks of the portrayal of these characters.

The rest of the supporting cast, playing crows, trees, Ozians, flying monkeys, and Winkies, enthusiastically sang out to bring the audience into the production. The production was well lit by a technical crew that creatively utilized their resources to bring the technicolor Oz to life. Sound was well executed, with few microphone problems, though sound effects were at times too loud and somewhat inconsistent. Some set changes distracted from the production with their length and volume, but accompanying music helped to fill the breaks in action.

Overall, Episcopal’s production of The Wizard of Oz brought the buoyancy of the well-loved classic to the stage and the joy of the story to its audience with heartfelt depictions of the characters.

by Katie McLean of St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School

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