Moffat County drama program to bring out magic of fall musical ‘Wizard of Oz’
Somewhere over the rainbow, at the end of a pathway made from yellow bricks, Moffat County High School’s drama department brings forth a magical adventure.
MCHS’s theater program presents the fall musical “The Wizard of Oz” with four performances this week.
Shows will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21; Friday, Nov. 22; and Saturday, Nov. 23, as well as a Saturday matinee at 1:30 p.m.
Admission is $7 per person.
The musical draws on both the 1939 film starring Judy Garland as well as the original works of author L. Frank Baum. The classic American fable of a Midwestern girl transported to a fantastic world of Munchkins, talking animals, witches and more is one that director Grace Pomeleo believes reaches every age group.
“It’s the 80th anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and we didn’t plan that, but it’s something people from every generation enjoy,” she said. “It’s a family show, and we like to do those as much as possible. This cast has really pulled it together despite some obstacles.”
Alexa Neton portrays Kansas adolescent Dorothy, a role she said was one of her favorite characters well before getting cast in the play.
“I think when I was little, I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween three times in a row,” she said. “It’s kind of my dream role, and we have so much fun together.”
The part is one that brings with it some considerable vocal expectations, with tunes such as “Over the Rainbow” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” though Neton’s favorite song in the show is one movie lovers probably won’t recognize.
“I like ‘Over the Rainbow,” but I think ‘Jitterbug’ is my favorite,” she said. “I’m excited for my friends and family to see it, because we’ve been working really hard.”
In the part of Glinda the Good Witch, Millie Fritz said she’s especially come to appreciate the fancy nature that comes with wardrobe and all the work that goes into any show.
“It’s a lot of fun doing theater in general and getting to wear a big costume and do your makeup,” Fritz said. “Trying out different things and seeing what works best is just a lot of fun, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Director: Grace Pomeleo
Pit Orchestra Director: Keath Fenton
Director’s Assistant: Jessica Womble
Stage Manager: Rebecca Cruz
Set Extraordinaire: Melinda Hall
Dorothy: Alexa Neton
The Scarecrow: Tayla Siminoe
The Tin Man: Kendra Eike
The Cowardly Lion: Courtney Smith
The Good Witch: Millie Fritz
The Wicked Witch of the West: Maria Sanchez Silva
Aunt Em: Tess Willems
Uncle Henry: Zac Prescott
The Wizard of Oz: Nevaeh Allen
Farmhand: Draken Blackwing
A Munchkin Farmer: Hayle Letsinger
Mayor of the Munchkins: Kestrel Copeland
Private: Alyssa Rodriguez
Foremost General: Kasen Tansey
Oz Lady: Avalon Bays
Lord Growlie: Juliet Hall
Gloria: Rachel Updike
Witch 1: Alyssa Rodriguez
Witch 2: Samantha Bade
Tibia: Jade Kapferer
Ozmas: Samantha Bade
Servant: Jade Kapferer
Girl: Samantha Bade
Another Girl: Jade Kapferer
Munchkin Barrister: Kasen Tansey
Munchkin Coroner: Hayle Letsinger
Quartet of Farmhands: Draken Blackwing, Zac Prescott, Juliet Hall, Millie Fritz
Munchkins/Citizens/Farmhands: Sean Smith, Teagan Gleisner, Emma Fritz, Natalie Womble, Cynae Montoya, Austin Seewald, Devon Malley, Azie Bartholomew, Megan Neton, Lily Kelly, Arianna Crain
Pit Orchestra: Mary Karen Solomon, Jim Simpson, Sunny White, Bryon Smith, Eric Warner, Lief Albaugh, Casey Madsen, Jonnie Madsen, Lauren Hilley, Dillon McIntosh, Cody Eckhoff, Chad Davis, Garrett Mercer
Stage Crew: Chase Davis, Cristal Holguin, Grisel Moriel, Katie Coene, Kimber Eike, Patrick Vest, Isabelle Herod, Emily Gonzales
Tech Crew: Josh Gumber, Daniel Caddy, Jacob Jeffcoat, MaKala Herndon, Justice McMillan, Hailey Collins, Athan Smith, Forrest Siminoe, Celeste Valenzuela
Though there’s a wide array of whimsical characters Dorothy comes across in the land of Oz, her three regular companions are the frazzled hayseed Scarecrow (Tayla Siminoe), the more rigid Tin Man (Kendra Eike) and the crybaby Cowardly Lion (Courtney Smith).
After being paired with Neton in last year’s “Cinderella” as the titular character’s stepsisters, Smith said the two work particularly well together onstage.
“This may be the goofiest part I’ve ever done, and I think it’s also the funnest I’ve ever done,” she said.
Despite her furry costume being sweltering, Smith said she appreciates every moment in her final MCHS musical, an autumn tradition she’s engaged each year of high school.
“Every year we do this, and it keeps getting better and better,” she said.
Smith noted one aspect of drama she’s come to appreciate is the difference between rehearsals and once the curtain rises in front of a crowd.
“The entire vibe in the whole room in the whole cast is different when there’s people paying to see the show,” she said. “You get more into it. That show mode I get into is my favorite.”
By contrast, Eike is in her first big role as a freshman, though her function as Tin Man — or “Tin Can” as some refer to her — is the most authoritative of the four.
“I kind of keep everyone in line, make sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to,” she said. “It’d be weird telling any other senior what to do, but Courtney’s really cool about it, and these are some of the best co-stars I could have.”
The trivia about actor Buddy Ebsen’s near-fatal allergic reaction to the silver makeup originally used in the film is something that hasn’t slipped past Eike, though she’s not too concerned.
“Everybody’s been telling me, ‘you know somebody almost died from that,'” she said with a laugh.
For Siminoe, the Scarecrow involves plenty of physical quirks for the straw-stuffed being in search of a brain.
“It kind of fits my personality because I can be kind of clumsy and a little forgetful,” she said. “I just trip over everything and land in a lot of awkward positions. I’m hoping there’s a lot of laughter. That’s my goal.”
Siminoe said she’s bonded a great deal with her fellow castmates, whom she said have made the preparation process much easier.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s going to be worth it, especially getting to spend time with these three, because I’m not me without them,” she said.