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Middle school performs ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘appeals to all ages,’ director says

This was the poster for the middle school musical, The Wizard of Oz. This show included girls in all grades of middle school. This cover artwork was done by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

This was the poster for the middle school musical, The Wizard of Oz. This show included girls in all grades of middle school. This cover artwork was done by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

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Lions, tigers and bears — oh my!

This is one of the many famous lines that was performed at the middle school production of “The Wizard of Oz” on May 12 and 13.

Reed Farley, the director of the musical, described how the nostalgia of “The Wizard of Oz” gave him and the assistant directors the freedom to play around with how they were going to put it on stage.

“It appeals to all ages; it appeals to everyone’s child within. It is accessible to a sixth grader, but also an eighth grader. And then you also have twelfth graders sitting in the audience that are watching these young kids bring this story to life, and [they] connecting to it emotionally because of their own experiences with it,” Farley said.

Allie Rich ’23 said that her favorite part of the show was not actually the show itself, but the bond that was created between the cast.

Rich said that one of her favorite parts was also “putting [the show] all together to make it this incredible, awesome big piece of art”

Natasha Speiss ’23, who played Scarecrow, said that while she originally felt intimidated by the students older than her, but once participating in this production, she realized there was nothing to be scared of.

Her favorite part of production was “the bond we created, how all of the grades were interacting and [how] nobody was afraid to say anything to another grade.”

This performance also has the unique aspect of puppetry in it. Both Toto, Dorothy’s dog, and the Wicked Witch of the West were life sized puppets that were controlled by the middle school students.

The puppets were created by a professional puppeteer from the Rogue Theater Artists, who also worked with the middle school students to help bring the characters to life.

“This was such a creative way to take the show and make it something new,” Rich said.

Farley was also helped by three assistant directors: Stella Gage ’17, Talia Natoli ’17 and Eloise Rollins-Fife ’17.

Rollins-Fife said that since she has been participating in Archer theater since she was in middle school, this final show caused some emotion.

“It was much harder to deal with than I expected,” she said. “I think I underestimated how much theater meant to me and means to me, Archer theater specifically.”

Although she could not divulge the backstage secrets of Archer theater, Rollins-Fife said that doing the traditional pre-show ritual for the final time made her said. She has been participating in the ritual and in Archer theater since age eleven.

Below is a photo gallery of the final dress rehearsal of the show.

 

Paulina DePaulo '23 and Natasha Speiss '23 facing Oz in the Emerald City. DePaulo played Dorothy and Speiss played Scarecrow.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Natasha Speiss ’23 played Tin Man.  This error has been corrected to state that she was Scarecrow.

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