BELOIT - West Branch High School is proud to present the unforgettable tale of Dorothy, her little dog Toto and their magical journey down the Yellow Brick Road to find the way back home.
The family-oriented musical comes to the stage at West Branch High School auditorium Feb. 6, 8 and 9. You are sure to be charmed and enchanted by the talented West Branch cast and their interpretation of this classic musical.
"The Wizard of Oz" is based on the classic story by L. Frank Baum, immortalized in the Oscar-winning 1939 film and adapted to the stage for this entertaining production.
West Branch is presenting the 'Wizard of Oz' Feb, 6, 8 and 9 in the high school auditorium. The main cast includes, from left, Cooper Briceland, Cowardly Lion; Colby Briceland, Tin Man; Rachael Murphy, Dorothy; Zach McMullen, Scarecrow; Rylee Caufield, Glinda; and, Victoria Mossow, Wicked Witch. (Submitted photo)
Music and Lyrics are by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg and the show was adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The show is based upon the classical motion picture starring Judy Garland and owned by Turner Entertainment Co.
"The Wizard of Oz' chronicles the journey of a young farm girl who is transported to a land far away after a tornado hits her family home. When Dorothy steps out of her door into the magical land of Oz, she discovers that she's "not in Kansas anymore." She soon meets Glinda, the Witch of the North and learns that her house landed on - and killed - the Wicked Witch of the East. At Glinda's urging, Dorothy dons the dead witch's ruby slippers and sets off with Toto down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, in a quest to find the all-powerful Wizard of Oz to help them get back home. Along the way, they encounter a motley cast of characters, see strange new lands, and try to escape the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West. The enchanting production features an Oscar-winning score with some of the most recognized and beloved songs of all time, including, "Over the Rainbow," "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead" and "We're off to See the Wizard."
Many people have commented that last spring's sold out production of "Hello Dolly" at West Branch could never be surpassed, but director John Zamarelli and the talented theater students have produced "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Forever Plaid" this year already, both of which had magnificent reviews. "I feel 'The Wizard of Oz' will be one of the biggest productions we have ever staged at West Branch," said Zamarelli.
- WHEN: Show dates and times for "The Wizard of Oz" are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8; and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.
- FOR THE KIDS: A special "Lunch with Dorothy and Friends" will be offered to area children at 1 p.m. Feb. 8. Children will be able to meet all the characters in the show, eat lunch sponsored by local restaurant Don Poncho's, receive autograph books, coloring books and have their faces painted. The menu includes tacos, rice, cinnamon crisps, chips and salsa and a beverage.
- GET TICKETS: Tickets for all the shows will be available at the high school during the school day or by calling the box office at 330-938-4442. Leave a message and one of the parents in charge of box office sales will return all calls. All seats for the four performances are reserved and priced at $10 for adults and $8 for students. All patrons are encouraged to come to the school and pick out their own seats as soon as possible. Because this show is very popular with young children and families so it will probably be sold out soon
Senior Rachael Murphy will portray Dorothy. She is the daughter of Eva Murphy and Carl Binias. As Dorothy, she delivers the classic "Over the Rainbow" with a perfect mix of mellow sweetness and strength in an absolutely gorgeous voice. Rachael is best known for her performance as Ermagarde in "Hello Dolly." Her natural performance is a comfortable complement to her castmates, including her dog Toto.
Junior Wesley Miller, son of Ted and Marvilla Miller, receives his usual enthusiastic welcome from the audience and revels in his double role as Professor Marvel and the Wizard of Oz. Wesley was last seen as the Bishop in "Jekyll and Hyde." This production is a comedy feast for Miller, who is clearly having a ball to the delight of his fans.
Senior Cooper Briceland nearly runs away with the show in a splashy, eccentric performance as the Cowardly Lion. Cooper is the son of Denny and Kari Briceland and was last seen as Smudge in "Forever Plaid." His performance absolutely wows the audience especially during the "King of the Forest" number.
Senior Colby Briceland has a terrific turn as the Tin Woodman, and his tinny tap dancing leads into a showstopper of a production number on "If I Only Had a Heart." Colby is the son of Denny and Kari Briceland and was last seen as Sparky in "Forever Plaid."
Dorothy's best friend, the Scarecrow, is played by senior Zach McMullen. Zach is the son of Virgil and Tina McMullen and was last seen in "Jekyll and Hyde." McMullen is amusingly wobbly as the under-stuffed Scarecrow, and, like the Tin Man and the Lion, really delivers on his iconic solo, "If I Only had a Brain." Zach is also the artistic director of the production and a lot of the success of the production is due to his dedication and knowledge of the stage.
Junior Victoria Mossow is simply smashing as the Wicked Witch of the West, handily navigating the skies over the audience as she searches for her nemesis Dorothy. Victoria is the daughter of Lori Dearth. She was last seen as a principal dancer in "Jekyll and Hyde" and has been in every show since her freshman year. Victoria delivers an energetic performance at the Witch especially during the show's upbeat dance number "The Jitterbug."
Senior Rylee Caufield, who portrays Glinda, is pretty in pink and delivers a gorgeous solo as she introduces the young lady who "fell from a star" to a lively cast of Munchkins. Rylee is the daughter of Anjie Brown and Ty Caufield. Rylee was last seen as Emma in "Jekyll and Hyde" and is known for her beautiful soprano voice.
Senior Trevor Gibbons will portray the role of the Guard at the Emerald City Gate. Trevor is the son Eric and Shelly Gibbons. Known for his ability to play any character, Trevor once again is able to make the audience laugh especially during his solo performance in the song "Merry Old Land of Oz."
Veteran actress and dancer Gabbi Sanor will play the role of Aunt Em. She is the daughter of Mark and Tina Sanor and is the show's assistant choreographer.
Playing Uncle Henry is newcomer Alex St. Clair. Rounding out the cast are Brandon Utley playing the role of Zeke, Dakota Lovell playing the role Hickory, Jake Koneval playing the role of Hunk, Parker Zamarelli playing the role of Nikko, Mike Jones playing the role of Winkie General and Bree Metts playing the role of Miss Gultch.
The chorus numbers in the show are very colorful and full of live trees, crows, poppies, snowflakes, winkie guards and people who live in the Emerald City. The adult chorus includes:
- Crow dancers: Cheyenne Deluna, Destanee Goosby, Jane Stahl, Allie Harris, Carli McQuilken, Bree Metts, Audrey Nolte, Shayna Sands, Gabbi Sanor, Laura Slutz, Megan Winters, Madison Woolf.
- Tree dancers: Justin Pegg, Olivia Brunner, Kim Salvino, Hannah Thomas, Faith Wittenauer, McCoy Yarian, Ellie Shreve, Chelsea Krol, Megan Lucas, Brittany Randall, Jessica Lozier.
- Poppy dancers: Madeline Buehler, Reilly Cameron, Emmaline Lamp, Taylor Miller, Whitney Parkinson, Calista Waters, Ashley Weber, Amanda Woods, Kaley Anderson, Kaylen Sanor, Hannah Thomas, Emily Slepski, Allie Harris, Bree Metts, Morgan Erb, Alexus Berger, Alexis Hatton, Carli McQuilkin, Adelina Buga, Christina Langen, Ragan Kirksey.
- Snowflake dancers: Makayla Kitzmiller, Ashleigh Ely, Jessica Lozier, Amber Mondak, Mackenzie Montgomery, Alexis Paugh, Ellie Shreve, Brittany Smith, Hailey Tucker, ChelseaWoodburn, Destany Hayes, Zoie Bailey, McCoy Yarian.
- Jitterbug dancers: Gabbi Sanor, Allie Harris, Bree Metts, Maddie Woolf, Marina Moffett, Cheynne Deluna, Jake McIlvain, Trevor Gibbons, Shayna Sands, Brandon Utley, Megan Winters, Audrey Nolte, Destanee Goosby, Jake Koneval, Lance Thompson, Dakota Lovell, Laura Slutz, Rylee Caufield, Jane Stahl.
- Oz people chorus: Olivia Brunner, Takota Frederick, Mike Jones, Chelsea Krol, Jessica Lozier, Megan Lucas, Lucas McDaniel, Caril McDaniel, Justin Pegg, Brittany Randall, Kim Salvino, Ellie Shreve, Alex St. Clair, Jane Stahl, Hannah Thomas, Megan Winters, Faith Wittenauer, McCoy Yarian.
- Stuffers: Jake Koneval, Dakota Lovell, Brandon Utley.
- Polishers: Zach Dean, Rob Lozier, Jake McIlvain, Lance Thompson.
- Beauticians: Cheyenne DeLuna, Allie Harris, Marina Moffett, Shayna Sands, Laura Slutz.
- Manicurists: Destanee Goosby, Brianne Metts, Audrey Nolte, Gabbi Sanor, Maddie Woolf.
- Monkey army: Parker Zamarelli, Kingsley Briceland, Drew Russell, Josh Petkash, Camryn Briceland, Morgan Loudon, Hannah Egli.
- Winkies: Devyn Caron, Jason Dickson, Takota Frederick, Nick Gainor, Brandon Handy, Brice Hill, Marcus Hopes, Michael Johnson, Jon Lattimer, Brant Matz, Aaron Mohr, William Murphy, Tyler Perkins, Orieon Lazarus, Isaac Slingerland, Harrison Whipkey, Jonathon Yost.
The child ensemble in this musical delivers fantastic and professional performances as the citizens of Munchkinland. In a large ensemble number, they deliver pitch-perfect harmonies and crystal-clear lyrics, no mean feat. The Munchkin chorus is made up of over 100 children enrolled at West Branch in grades two to eight.
"This has been a special experience," said Zamarelli, "It has become a district wide music experience and I have been able to interact and make music with students from the other buildings."
The orphan chorus is comprised of Aubrey Dredge, Andrea Janosik, Kate Slytz, Samantha Koneval, Auburn Hamilton, Jennifer Mondak, Morgan Brown, Haley Hazelbaker, Claire Brunner, Daphne Snyder, Kiersten Skinner, Camryn Campbell, Madison Wike, Anna Curry, Maria Manley, Kingsley Briceland, Hannah Egli, Julia Zamarelli, Jillian Zamarelli, Jaiden Hancock, Ryley Pittman, Miranda Crick, Jennifer Phillis, Emily Sheets, Liana Gabrelcik, Skyler Greeneisen, Amber Caruthers, Alyssa Barnett, Kiersten Hafmann, Elizabeth McCune, Paige Derry, Kennedy Close, Mara Woost, Grace Slimon, Danielle Koneval, Katie Krent, Ashley James, Kamryn Briceland, Destany Blake, Makenzie Walsh, Ava Decker, Shiann Schaefer, Lexey Townsend, Rylee Milat, Alaya Kiser, Jenna Limpert, Maci McLean, Sidney Milliken, Marissa Erb, Macey Stancato, Gabrielle Harrison, Kaitlynn Todd, Grace Weingart, Rilynne Baker, Claire Headland, Carleigh Loudon, Dana Wilke, Taylor James, Hannay Ridgway, Faith Brown, Callie Pitman, Bethany Caruthers, Abigail Downs, Katelin Downs, Kasandra Rea, Zoie Davis, Alyssa Bush, Macie Minich, Kirstin Smith, Hayley Krahling, Taylor Crick, Abby Shutler, Tessa Wells, Molly St. John, Kearstin Rummel, Jaylynn LaNave, Chloe Townsend, Gillian Koneval, Emily Coffelt, Karah Skinner, Emma Jarvis, Kylie Dean, Abigail Johnson, Makayla Jennings, Katie Mikes, Carrie Burns, Peyton Zamarelli, Aliza Hatton, Emilee Sanor, Sarah Jarvis, Kora Hobson, Skyler Dredge, Kailee Gibbons, Ellie Shreve, McCoy Yarian and Mackenzie Montgomery.
Besides the orphan chorus there is a chorus of high school students that make up the theater class at West Branch. Some of the delightful songs are performed by the group of singers and dancers and they include favorites such as "NYC," "Hooverville" and "You're Gonna Like it Here." The high school chorus is comprised of Kristen Bates, Colby Briceland, Cooper Briceland, Olivia Brunner, Rylee Caufield, Amanda Davis, Anna Dillon, Darya Doronina, Andrew Edie, Trevor Gibbons, Allison Harris, Brieanne Hurrle, Tomi Jackson, Kolton Kitzmiller, Jake Koneval, Dakota Lovell, Makayla Manns, Ashley McDaniel, Jake McIlvain, Zach McMullen, Bree Metts, Wesley Miller, Madi Mitchell, Victoria Mossow, Rachael Murphy, Audrey Nolte, Kerigan Richmond, Jessica Sands, Shayna Sands, Gabbi Sanor, Jane Stahl, Victoria Stratton, Victoria Tarolli, Lance Thompson, Brandon Utley, Paige Walsh, Megan Winters, Faith Wittenauer, Madison Woolf, Parker Zamarelli and Morgan Zamarelli.
The Munchkin Chorus includes Mayor: Kylee Dean; Coroner: Zach Dean; Barrister: Julia Zamarelli; Teacher: Samantha Koneval; Lollypop Guild: Gavin Nagy, Parker Derry and James McCune; Lullaby League: Krystalynn Bell, Anna Curry, Maria Manley, Ava Newhart, Jillian Zamarelli Kate Slutz and Grace Slimon.
- Munchkin Chorus: Kingsley Briceland, Camryn Campbell, Kennedy Close, Wyatt Courtwright, Parker Derry, Paige Derry, Aubrey Dredge, Liana Gabrelcik, Skyler Greenisen, Jaiden Hancock, Hayley Hazelbaker, Keirsten Hofmann, Andrea Janosik, Taylor Johnson, Madalyn Klingensmith, Danielle Koneval, Lauren Lee, Isabella Leek, Morgan Loudon, Olivia May, Elizabeth McCune, James McCune, Rachel McGonagle, Gavin Nagy, Hayley Orndoff, Jennifer Phillis, Kiersten Skinner, Daphne Snyder, Avery Steiner, Nicole Stoffer, Hannah Townsend, Madison Wilke, Julia Zamarelli, Ally Zion, Gracie Adams, Claire Brunner, Angelina Bryant, Jocelyn Carte, Amber Caruthers, Kierstyn Edelman, Hannah Egli, Luke Greschaw, Sutman Johnson, Emmy Jones, Katie Kent, Makenna Lins, Gloria Maendel, Rosiana Maendel, Carson Schaefer, Piper Schenk, Joshua Simmons, Emily Algaier, Rilynne Baker, Joseph Baxter, Mackenzie Baxter, Destany Blake, Kamryn Briceland, Faith Brown, Bethany Caruthers, Shyanna Craven, Zoie Davis, Ava Decker, Katie Decker, Marissa Erb, Rianna Gillingham, Gabby Harrison, Danielle Harrison, Claire Headland, Ashley James, Makayla Jennings, Alaya Kiser, Carleigh Loudon Rylee Milat, Olivia Mossow, Ashlyn Pinkerton, Callie Pittman, Shiann Schaefer, Nolan Schwingle, Katelyn Shreve, Abby Shutler, Karah Skinner, Maddie Slanker, Molly St. John, Lexey Townsend, Tessa Wells and Dana Wilke.
- Munchkin Soldiers: Lindsey Barnett, Alyssa Bush, Jenna Greenisen, Kora Hobson, Hayley Krahling, Jenna Limpert, Elijah Marino, Mackenzie May, Katie Mikes, Macie Minich, Valerie Mobely, Emilee Sanor, Macey Stancato, Chloe Townsend, Harley Townsend Camryn Sutton and Grace Weingart.
The cast and crew of "The Wizard of Oz" includes over 200 students and 50 volunteers. Characters that perform solos in the musical have been coached by local voice teacher Bill Ambert. Zamarelli has worked hard on the musical numbers and dance coaches Allison Harris and Gabbi Sanor have transformed the stage into a whirlwind of stage movements, gymnastic feats and all styles of Broadway dance steps. This is most notable in the chorus number "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" the show's biggest production number which includes the entire childrens cast on the stage at the same time.
The costumes, designed by the parents of the cast members, are lavish and colorful and crews of volunteers have been working to complete them for the past two months. The set, also designed and built by local parents, is exquisite and fits the needs of the production's scenes and musical numbers. The audience is taken to a Kansas farm, Munchkinland, the Haunted Forrest, the Emerald City, the Castle of the Wicked Witch and the Wizard's Chamber. Painting crews have been working on the set for several weeks while many fathers and community members are working late into the evenings to finish what might be called a theatrical "work of art."
The technical director's for the show are Eric Waggoner and Victor Trimmer, who will be assisted by Luanne Felgar as stage manager. The tech crew will be running 36 wireless microphones and making sure all the special effects are executed as planned. Over 50 hours were spent setting over 250 light cues that are required by the production.
Show dates and times for "The Wizard of Oz" are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8; and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9.