Middle school thespians followed the Yellow Brick Road to the Performing Arts Center for a musical performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” In the classic tale, a tornado whisks away Dorothy and her dog, Toto, to the magical land of Oz. While the pair are traveling towards Emerald City to meet the Wizard, they also meet a scarecrow that needs a brain, a tin man missing a heart, and a cowardly lion who wants courage. The Wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help, so they set out on a perilous journey where each learns that there is no place like home.
Ollie Mansfield ’27 enlisted his parents in helping him to prepare for the role of the Wizard, which he played in an evening performance on Thursday, May 5, and in two additional performances on Friday, May 6. “In preparation for the Wizard of Oz, I went over the lines with my parents at home to make sure I had them all memorized for when the time came. I always love participating in the plays because it lets me show who I am. As Mrs. Darnton always says, acting is a living form of art,” said Ollie.
Anaiya Shah ’27 also credited performing arts faculty Amy Darnton with preparing the cast for the performance. “I loved how challenging it was to become the Wicked Witch of the West because it was a whole different personality for me. I didn’t start to memorize my song until a few weeks before the performances, but with the support of the cast and Mrs. Darnton, we were able to put together an amazing musical,” said Anaiya, adding that the cast became a family under Darnton’s leadership.
For Zuri Giddings ’26, who played Dorothy in one of the performances, the joy of acting came from performing without a mask for the first time since the pandemic began. “What I enjoyed most was connecting with the cast throughout the production and getting the chance to finally perform in a real play without masks since before COVID,” said Zuri.
“Preparing for the role was really easy for me as I already knew most of the songs before auditioning. However, learning the dances challenged me the most,” Zuri added.
All three performances are available to watch online.