Wizard of Oz is a real crowd pleaser for all ages
Any successful theatrical production begins with an energetic and enthusiastic cast. The latest offering of “The Wizard of Oz” on the BPHS stage fills that category with entertainment and talent galore. It helps when the cast is eager and easy to work with, and by all accounts, this group of students fits that niche perfectly.
This third and latest presentation of one of the most favorite of everyone’s movies played on the local high school stage for three performances, plus a kid-pleasing matinee presentation, and audiences left humming at least a couple of the songs from the play. The added accompaniment of a real orchestra provided great background and moved the scenes along with a minimum of fuss.
The leads in the story all gave enthusiastic performances, but the widespread appeal can be credited also to the groups along the way. A cast of approximately 50 students, from high school seniors to elementary youngsters, entertained the audience with enthusiasm and frenetic energy, including the Munchkins, the monkeys, the jitterbugs, the girls’ chorus, and the Ozians. They all seemed to enjoy their performances.
As Dorothy, Reese Millam stepped into the role seamlessly and provided the impetus for the antics and escapades for her three comrades joining her on the way to find the wizard. Ian Wayne, with his straw sticking out in back, made a pleasing companion, even though he came without a brain. Charlie Heimerman made the audience wishing they could help him find a heart, as well as a little oil, and Payton Simon, as the cowardly lion, jumped and swished his tail at every little noise along the way.
The supporting roles all performed with talent and energy, and the two witches, played by Riauna Bishop and Halle Strunk added much to the action. Strunk’s wicked witch even made some in the audience cower just a bit. The farm hands and Aunt Em, Almira Glitch, and the background crows and trees fit the action in appropriate fashion, and the various songs and dances entertained and moved the action along at a pleasing pace.
The improved sound system helped a great deal in being able to hear, although volume became a little too loud at times. The sets displayed ingenuity and the choreography showed creativity and talent. The singers performed on key and with heart, and, overall, it was an excellent production. It will take its place as one of the very good productions by the local high school acting and musical talent. Kudos to all.