Fine Arts puts on a wicked rendition of classic musical

John Fuller

The Wizard of Oz, a classic American cultural entity, is cherished by children and adults across the country–and messing with something so treasured is always a risk.

Still, the risk paid off for the Fine Arts department over the weekend as they performed their interpretation of The Wizard of Oz to an audience that was left both delighted and fulfilled.

From the opening number, the brilliance in set design and construction was evident. Yes, the crew did a great job of bringing the major elements, like the Yellow Brick Road and Dorothy’s Kansas house, to life, but the smaller details made all the difference. Such details range from falling “snow” and light-show twisters to live animals and the rolling hills of Munchkinland. For example, when Dorothy is still in Kansas, Toto is an real dog. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered had a fake dog been used, but the fact that the crew went the extra mile to put a real dog in Dorothy’s hands made the show that much more special.

Further rounding out the set design, was the excellent performance by the pit orchestra, who never failed to enhance the on-stage action and entice the audience into the unfolding plot. When so many elements come together–like the lighting, props and music–it’s easy for certain elements to compete with each other for attention. This wasn’t a problem in Oz. Instead, each element complemented each other and made the show a well-rounded success.

There’s no doubt that set design, music and lighting are important, but these elements would be lost if the singing, acting and dancing weren’t on par. Luckily, the performers didn’t disappoint. Of course, the singing and dancing were well-done, but beyond that, the characters had an on-stage chemistry that showed the audience that the performers were talented, certainly, but that they also worked well together and their cumulative effort made Oz that much more enjoyable. Even when technical difficulties did arise, the cast was able to work around the problems and minimized the impact it had on the outcome of the performance.

For a high school production, the Wizard of Oz was an impressive feat, as the Fine Arts Department successfully translated an American classic to the stage.