The O’Neal School Players will present the beloved The Wizard of Oz on Thursday, March 5 at 6:30, Saturday at March 7th at 6:30, and Sunday, March 8 at 3:00 in the Hannah Center Theater of The O’Neal School. Take a journey with Dorothy and Toto as they go over the rainbow into the land of Oz only to learn that the truest lesson is that “there’s no place like home.”
Director Ian Watson states that The Wizard of Oz is a quintessential American folk tale set beneath the backdrop of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl that ravaged communities in the Midwest. O’Neal’s production utilizes projection images and video, as well as movable sets to create a show that is both highly visual and theatrical, all while retaining the familiar story from the classic 1939 film.
The production also includes musical direction by David Lussier, choreography by Amanda Bumgarner, assistant choreography by freshman Reese Fisher, projection design by freshman Max Epstein, scenic paint by junior Naomi Johnson, lighting design by eight grade student Matthew Smithson, sound design by junior Tyler Jordan, and production stage management by senior Lily Gutschmit.
O’Neal’s production is also set apart through a large cast of over 40 students from lower, middle, and upper school divisions. Members of the cast include sophomore Ana Huesa as Dorothy, Mr. Watson’s dog Finn as Toto, senior Niasha Kodzai as Scarecrow, sophomore Piper Everts as Tin Man, sophomore Clara Lussier as The Cowardly Lion, sixth grade student Matthew Fisher as The Wizard of Oz, eighth grade student Sahara Kokott as Glinda the Good Witch, sophomore Trixie Gomlak as the Wicked Witch, and Reese Fisher as the Guard.
The ensemble is comprised of middle and upper school students Judy Goetzl, Carson Pusser, Abigail Cabanillas, Nik Epstein, Caitlyn Blocklinger, Thomas Garrett, Lauren Goodridge, Anna Gaab, Harper Hairston, Justice McNeil, Callie McHarney, Lizzie Gomlak, Malia Stone, Ella Bozovich, Layla Duffy, Peyton Dahle, and Livi Afable.
“The cast of our production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ makes this an unforgettable experience!” exclaims production stage manager Lily Gutschmit. O’Neal will present the stage adaptation written by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987. Watson and Lussier choose this version as it is the most faithful to the film that viewers have loved for over 80 years.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students/non-students/and faculty and may be purchased by visiting ONealSchool.org.
Feature photo: (L-R) Cast members Ana Huesa (Dorothy), Niasha Kodzai (Scarecrow), Piper Everts (Tin Man), and Clara Lussier (Cowardly Lion) have a quick briefing with Finn (Toto). Photo by Beth Garrison.