There may be no place like home, but when it comes to musical theater, there’s no place like West Springfield High School. Last night, West Springfield took the audience somewhere over the rainbow in their production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Based on the 1900 novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, this beloved classic follows young dreamer Dorothy Gale on a fabulous adventure through the "merry old land of Oz," where she meets friends such as a jolly scarecrow without a brain, a gentle tin man without a heart, and a comically, cowardly lion on her quest to find the Emerald City, conquer the Wicked Witch of the West, and get back home to Kansas.
Adapted for the stage by Baum in 1902, it ran on Broadway for nine years. It was made wildly popular by the 1939 Technicolor film starring Judy Garland, and was taken up for the stage once again by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987.
To make it all the way to the Emerald City, West Springfield had to take on this massive production with diligence and vitality. The undying stamina of the cast, paired with the hard-working tech crew, created a performance worthy of such a magical tale.
Elizabeth Garcia carried the play with confidence as Dorothy Gale, alongside Rick Leith as the plucky Scarecrow, John D’Angelo as the Tin Man, and Drew Holcombe, who exhibited charm and comedic courage in his portrayal of a lion without any courage at all. The four worked together dynamically throughout the play, and their cohesive energy generated frequent laughter and applause.
Brittany Morgan played the iconic Witch of the West with delightfully wicked vigor, maintaining a captivating character even when suspended from the ceiling with wires and soaring across the stage. She delivered lines with expert timing and faithfulness to the character while adding her own twist, utilizing her stage time to its fullest.
Accentuating the lead actors was a vast ensemble, who created a sense of spectacle with their unfaltering dedication and vivacity. Even in such a large group, each ensemble member maintained character consistently, and added strength to each scene. Featured dancer Riley O’Rourke stunned in her performance as the Jitterbug, exhibiting remarkable technique and punch in her choreography.
This production’s high technical demand required exceptional professionalism and stamina from the tech department, and West Springfield’s crew delivered with breathtakingly elaborate sets, expert backstage work, and eye-catching costumes. Massive, meticulously-painted set pieces served as a marvelous background in each scene, from Dorothy’s house to the Wicked Witch’s towering castle. Even with the magnitude of these pieces, the tech crew worked with exceptional timing and smoothness in their movement and placement of them.
Costumes did the characters justice with use of color and elegant craftsmanship. The technical aspect of the production contributed a great deal to the production.
With the help of a contagiously energetic cast and breathtaking tech work, West Springfield High School followed the Yellow Brick Road to success in their production of "The Wizard of Oz."