Follow the yellow brick road from the Middle School and it’ll lead you on stage at the McPherson Playhouse, where in just over a month our students will stage The Wizard of Oz musical.
Since auditions in the fall, students, staff and many wonderful volunteers have been working tirelessly on perfecting the acting, singing, music, dancing, costumes and sets.
As we approach the performances (March 5-7), the SMUS Review will highlight a few of the talented young actors, singers and dancers who will be onstage when the curtains rise. This week, we sit down for a Q&A with the students who’ll play Dorothy (Diya), the Scarecrow (Duke), the Cowardly Lion (Lucas), and the Tin Man (Connor).
What is The Wizard of Oz about?
Diya – Well, it’s a story about a girl who, her only friend is a dog, and she learns that you shouldn’t take things for granted.
Connor – And that you shouldn’t run away from home when people love you.
Why did you want to be a part of The Wizard of Oz?
Diya – I love acting; I want to be an actor when I’m older. And my mom’s a singer, so I love to sing. And I love plays, so I try out for a lot of plays.
Duke – I’m new to the school, and at my old school there were no choir classes or things like this. Anything that involves performing I just love because I love to show how I do things in front of people to make them laugh, because it’s really fun. I saw the movie like 10 years ago, and I loved the Scarecrow before I even got the part. I think I play his role perfectly; the ‘without a brain’ part.
Lucas – I like performing in front of people. I like singing and acting, so I just though it was a good fit for me. I also like The Wizard of Oz movie.
Connor – I enjoy performing in front of people, too, and speaking in front of people, and I’ve never really had this kind of experience doing a show in front of people, other than Annie in Grade 6. I want to do as much as I can and get into as many leadership or different roles to help out around St. Michaels. And I feel like I fell right into the perfect role as Tin Man.
How would you describe your character?
Diya – Dorothy’s a brat, and she’s kind of a cry baby. She shows her emotions a lot and I think she’s very innocent. And she acts before thinking a lot.
Duke – The Scarecrow’s very excited all the time, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing half the time because his joints are messed up and a lot of the time he’s falling. Sometimes the acting part is really challenging so you’re not just standing doing nothing when you’ve got nothing to say; I have to find the perfect thing for the Scarecrow to do based on who he is.
Lucas – I really like the Lion’s personality because he has three personalities. His uncertainty personality, he doesn’t know what’s going on; his tough personality; and then his scared personality. He’s also really sweet, too. He likes to help, and he wants to be friends with everybody. But he’s also very sad.
Connor – The Tin Man, he really has nothing to do in life. He has friends when he meets Dorothy and the Scarecrow, and then when he meets the Lion, and it gives him something to do for the day. But he doesn’t have much meaning to his life.
What has the experience been like so far?
Diya – It’s been amazing. I love plays. It’s the best when you get to mingle with the cast members, but sometimes the dance rehearsals get really tiring.
Duke – I love that if I wasn’t in this musical I would barely know you guys. We’ve had a lot of fun together.
Lucas – I really like it. It’s been a lot of fun, but pretty busy because I also do a lot of sports.
Connor – It’s been an awesome experience so far; it’s always fun making new friends and getting to know everybody really well. But, like Lucas, it’s a big, big, huge time commitment for me because of the sports I’m committed to, but doing The Wizard of Oz has been worth it.
What’s your favourite scene?
Diya – I like the monkey scene, when they take me away. Two people have to fly away with me, but they just kind of drag me. And I like the poppy scene because the sets and the costumes are amzing!
Duke – I like the Lion’s scene, because I like listening to other people sing; I like hearing Lucas sing.
Lucas – My favourite scene is when I have my second solo, If I Were King. You know the one? “If I, were king, of the forrrrrrreeeesst!”
Connor – My favourite scene is my first Tin Man scene where I do my solo. I like the scene because the dancing is cool.
Why should people come see The Wizard of Oz?
Diya – It’s really entertaining; non-stop laughter. It’s like a page-turner for a musical. The costumes are cool, and everyone’s put a lot of work into it.
Duke – Because it’s a funny play.
Lucas – It’s going to be a really good time, and you’ll have so many laughs. And, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but there’s going to be technology involved, too, which is going to give people a really big scare.
Connor – Because it’s going to be an awesome experience; everyone’s going to have such a good time, and all the work everyone’s put into it will really show up when we present it.
Tickets for the show aren’t on sale yet, but stay tuned to the SMUS Review blog in the coming weeks for ticket information.