Mt. Hebron will be performing a rendition of The Wizard of Oz on the weekends of March 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, and 30- each ticket is sold for $10. This play presents a new iteration of the classic tale, taking inspiration from both the classic 1900 children’s book written by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. The production is being directed by Mt. Hebron math teacher Mr. Tom Sankey and the music of the show is being directed by Chris Hettenbach.
Regarding his involvement in the play, Sankey expressed how he had “an amazing experience working on the play. Every day working on this play has been a great adventure and I have enjoyed every moment of it.”
Leah Reineck portrays the protagonist, Dorothy Gale, a young girl from Kansas dreaming of going “over the rainbow”, to a place where she’ll have no problems. However, a tornado arrives and whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to a magical land known as Oz. Wishing to return back home, Dorothy is told to go to the Wizard of Oz, a powerful sorcerer who can grant any wish given to him. Along the way, she comes across several odd characters such as a brainless scarecrow, played by Nick Brogan, a heartless tin-man, played by Jake Scarbath, a cowardly lion, played by Joshua Leach, and a wicked witch portrayed by Samantha Yakaitis.
The performances from the actors are definitely the highlight of the production. Leah Reineck as Dorothy truly captures the child-like innocence of Judy Garland. This makes sense, as the actress has stated that she was “super excited” to earn the role.
Reineck said, “I grew up watching the Wizard of Oz, so I was stoked to be able to tell this story. I was super excited to perform and loved all the kids that came to see the show!”
The other actors also provide the audience with the same charismatic appeal of the original actors, as Brogan, Scarbath, and Leach are able to comedically work off of each other’s performances and adding heart to the play. I also have to give props to Yakaitis, as she does a great job as the Wicked Witch of the West, creating a legitimate sense of menace and fear. You can very much feel the energy coming off of the actors as they perform, as they clearly seem to be having fun with the roles and are making the most of them.
“If I’m going to be honest”, said Scarbath, “I think this was the best show I’ve ever been in. It was so much fun working with everybody and I was honored to be a part of the show.”
When it comes to the music, the orchestra is able to perfectly replicate Harold Arlen’s famous tunes from the 1939 movie. The second you hear the symphony to “Over the Rainbow” start to play, you can feel the audience start to sway along with the rhythm.
The costume and make-up design for the characters is incredible, as the hard work of costume director Kathy Bondura, the costume crew, and the makeup crew shines through. It doesn’t feel like the costuming is restricting the performances of the actors nor do the costumes look low-budget or fake. It feels like it adds to the acting and makes the characters feel more alive.
“[The musical] was really good. I loved the acting, the music, it was a fun time,” said Mt. Hebron junior Isabelle Torsiello.
Overall, Mt. Hebron’s rendition of the Wizard of Oz is a great musical. It includes energetic performances from the cast, a sensational music score, magnificent costume designs, and likable characters.