by Dylan Carlson, ’19
The UAHS production of “The Wizard of Oz” exemplified the strength of the school’s arts program. Its incredible set, music, and acting was comparable to that of the best college play productions. The execution of the play, from the tech crew to the pit orchestra to the actors, was exceptionally professional.
The acting was top-notch, with the ragged group of Dorothy Gale (Charlotte Brown), Scarecrow (Oliver Bellamy), Tinman (Chad Lewis), and Cowardly Lion (Ben Brewster), performing with seamless ensemble and showing great chemistry. Their musical delivery was exceptional, as was their comedic timing, with the audience laughing on the edge of their seats multiple times throughout the play. It was not only the main characters who received plaudits from the audience — the musical numbers, the Munchkins, and the Three Crows segment also received loud cheers.
Complementing the actors was the play’s breathtaking set acquired from Madison Square Garden just this year. Reminiscent of the iconic 1939 film adaptation, the set changed from boringly gray to vividly colorful in order to contrast the vastly different atmospheres of Kansas and Oz. Tasked with moving extremely large and complex structures in and out in a matter of seconds, it is remarkable how well tech crew managed the scene transitions. However, most impressive was the mask of Oz, which looked down upon the whole audience, leaving everyone in awe of its sheer size. That’s not all. It could also move its mouth and talk! How they managed to do that remains a mystery to me.
And, to tie everything up, was the pit band. The music rose and fell at the right moments, signifying the changes in the mood, the climax and the resolution; it made the play feel and be all the more professional.
Director Eric Kauffman, and everyone who participated in the production of “the Wizard of Oz” have accomplished an amazing feat. This was not a normal high school play. It was far beyond that. Even the most pretentious of theatergoers would have enjoyed UAHS’ “The Wizard of Oz”.