See 'The Wizard of Oz' at Westminster Christian School in Elgin
The Westminster Christian School Fine Arts Department is proud to present Frank L. Baum's "The Wizard of Oz." Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8; and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Westminster Christian School, 2700 W. Highland Ave., Elgin.
Tickets, $7-$12, are available at westminsterchristian.tix.com.
"The Wizard of Oz" is one of America's most revered stories. The whimsy, the comfort of Judy Garland's voice, the beloved four friends and the meaningful story have held our affections and inspired us for 80 years.
Director Lois Shaw chose this dreamy production because of its opportunity for variety in choreography, but mainly for the number of significant roles and opportunities for students to shine. Furthermore, Shaw shared that as a Christian school, Westminster values choosing productions with a redeeming factor.
"From 'The Wizard of Oz,' we learn that often we search tirelessly for power we already have. For us, this is especially meaningful as we proclaim the saving power of Jesus in our lives," Shaw said. "It also teaches us to love our friends, even when they are incomplete. Lastly, it teaches us to value home and not to ache for a season we're not in, for there is abundance to be had in the present."
Shaw disclosed that one challenge has been capturing the nostalgic nature of the show in an original way.
"Our producer, Sarah Rosenthal, and parent committees have worked tirelessly to make every moment of the journey to Oz picturesque and unique," Shaw said.
Lastly, she commended the iconic four (Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion) on their incredible camaraderie. Rosenthal added that it will be moving to see how they have achieved "the iconic image of the friends on the yellow brick road, complete with a real Toto."
The sentimental role of Dorothy is played by senior Alivia Anderson. When asked what she is excited for the audience to see, she responded, "I want the audience to see God in what we do and to know how much effort has gone into the show to be for God, not us." Alivia is a seasoned Westminster Theater actress and shared, "I like working with amazing people from all different grades toward a common goal."
The demanding role of the Wicked Witch of the West is played by senior Victoria Layne who also serves as the show's graphic designer. She is "excited to bring to life a classic show for everyone to enjoy, young and old."
Frankie Schlaffer, a senior, is playing the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
"I have learned that a production like this isn't a one person show," he said. "It takes a ton of teamwork, great staff and most of all, God for this production to succeed." Frankie said his favorite scene is Munchkinland. "The kids have so much life in their singing and dancing. It's fantastic to watch."
To that effect, an advantage to being at a K-12 school is the ability to have munchkins and monkeys played by students in grades 3-8. Payton Lee, a sixth-grader, plays the Mayor of Munchkin City. She called it "an amazing journey" and says it is "an honor having an role in the high school show."
Aside from the diligent cast and backstage crew, Westminster has several parent committees working behind the scenes to bring the show to life. Shaw and Rosenthal, along with Stephanie Chiodras (vocal coach), Libbie Atchison (stage manager) and Deborah Lynerd (administrative assistant) are thrilled to be staging this production.
"I am beyond proud of this cast not only for their hard work and talent, but for the way they have prioritized making this a worshipful and life-giving experience," Shaw said. "From the meaningfulness of the story, to the fun we have had in the rehearsal process, this production will be a treasured memory for us, for years to come."