By Dan Bechtold, Editor
The mighty Oz has spoke and mesmerized audiences that packed the Winner Community Playhouse for three nights this weekend. Winner High School presented “The Wizard of Oz” as the all school play Thursday through Saturday. This is one of the largest casts for an all-school play in several years. It was an amazing show.
We all know the story line about Dorothy and her dog Toto who are caught in a tornado’s path and somehow end up in the far away land of Oz. She meets some characters who accompany her on her journey. She is on a quest to see the wizard who can help her return to her home in Kansas.
Directors Kara Connot and Kelly Assman put together a cast that played their part like pros. Connot and Assman are to be commended for their efforts.
Kenzie Irick played Dorothy and did a wonderful job. It was a part that required a lot of lines to learn and a lot of acting. Irick is no stranger to the stage so she felt comfortable.
Dorothy’s ever faithful companion is her dog, Toto. And who could play a better Toto than John Kludt. Though his speaking lines were limited to a bark here and there, he was animated and made his role believable.
Along her journey, Dorothy meets the scarecrow played by Duncan English, the tin man played by Grant Winter and the Lion played by Jacob Woods. All were very good in their part.
There is a historian who helps narrate the play and Molly Connot played this to perfection. At the end of the play, Connot is revealed as the voice of Oz.
Of course, there is Aunty Em played by Sydnie Peters and Mary Calhoon and Uncle Henry played by Matthew Hartley.
The land of Oz is full of witches and munchkins, little people who live in this enchanted land.
The good witch of the North is played by Molly Sperlich/Liz Jankauskas. The Wicked witch of West was played by Brielle Bachmann and Hayley Halverson played Glinda, the Good Witch. The Munchkins were played by: Emily Moser, Shannon Duffy, Sadie Woods, Gracie Littau, Alex Meiners, Bethany Cable, Jace Voegeli, Andrew Taylor, Angel Shaw, Taylor Headrick, katy Lantz Shelby Scott and Arista Kaiser.
In the story of “The Wizard of Oz” the wicked witch sends winged monkeys to attack Dorothy’s party.
I loved the winged monkeys. Big football and basketball players filled with energy swoop down on the stage. They even did a little ad lib Friday night playing their role as monkeys. Nick Blare was the king of the moneys. The other enthusiastic monkeys were Mason Schuyler, Ty Bolton, Jonas Brill, Isaac Naasz, Luke Engel and Hunter Shopene.
The play moved swiftly thanks to the excellent work of the stage manager and stages hands who moved props around with easy and did not make the audience wait for lengthy scene changes.
The costumes and the set were excellent. Under the guidance of technical director Dan Patmore all the technical aspects of this play came together.
The directors used the artistic talents of Ruth Novotny to design the set, paint the wizard and backdrop build aunty Em’s and Uncle Henry’s house.
We have such great talent in this community and this play is proof of that fact.
If it seems I might be just a little biased that this was a great show. Well, you are right. I loved it, from the time Molly Connot engaged the audience in the opening scene to the time Dorothy clicked her ruby red shoes three times saying “there is no place like home.”
Well, there was no place like the Winner Community Playhouse as Oz made us all believers in heart, courage and brains to do the right thing.
Bravo to all.