BELLEVILLE Students at Belleville Henderson Central School are eager to demonstrate their magic as they prepare to stage The Wizard of Oz on Friday and Saturday.
People describe our school as small but we can give off a lot of energy in a wonderful production every year, said junior Jake H. Allen, who plays the lion. We always pull it off.
Vocal music teacher Renee M. Scherer, who directs The Wizard of Oz, said she selected the musical because she wanted to involve younger students in the district. Therere more than two dozen Munchkins, fourth-and-fifth graders, in the musical. Therere also 20 students in the musicals chorus ranging in grades from 6 to 12.
Its a large cast for a small school, she said.
According to Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc., which is the licensing agent for the play, a stage version of L. Frank Baums The Wizard of Oz based on the 1939 motion picture, was first presented at the Municipal Theatre of St. Louis in 1942.
A second version with book adaptations by John Kane, which followed the movie more closely, was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Centre in London in 1988.
All feature the famous movie songs such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow, If I Only Had a Brain and Were Off to See the Wizard.
Music and lyrics are by Harold Arle and Edgar Y. Harburg.
The plot centers on Dorothy, played by Jenta White. Dorothy, after a tornado, finds herself in Munchkinland, home of the Munchkins and the spot where she meets her famous cohorts. Besides the Lion, theres the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.
Families will recognize a lot in it, said Jake. But theres a few extra scenes that werent in the movie that will add a twist to it.
Theres one or two songs that arent in the movie, said sophomore Elizabeth A. Scherer, who plays the Scarecrow.
Elizabeth, a sophomore, has been in five productions at the school.
Even though theres not a lot of us, we all come together and make it pretty great, she said.
Other main characters in the musical are Karen Fargo as the Tin Man; Kristia Otey as Glinda the Good Witch of the North; Tiffani Remington as the Wicked Witch of the West; Tyler Bast as the Gatekeeper and Nathan Contino as the Wizard.
The musicals pit band is led by Daniel D. Osborne, president of DOCO Quick Print. Hell be at the piano. Four alumni of Belleville Henderson will be on supporting instruments.