HCS students return to the stage with Wizard of Oz musical

·3 min read

t took a long time for Hartland Community School elementary and middle school students to finally reach the wonderful world of Oz. But they finally made it.

At 6:30 p.m. on May 18, the young actors and singers will hit the stage to present HCS’s classic musical Wizard of Oz production.

With two years of COVID-19 restrictions playing havoc with live performances, the upcoming stage production will end the theatre-loving students’ long wait to set foot back on stage.

One of six directors of the Wizard of Oz performance, Caroline Fletcher-Allison, said the show would feature both elementary and middle school students. In fact, she noted, some of the middle school students were in elementary classes when the pandemic forced the end of drama productions.

Joining Fletcher-Allison as directors of the Wizard of Oz are Chantal Shaw, Deidre Everett, Amanda Craig, Amanda Carr and Heidi Culberson.

Fletcher Allison said the students jumped at the chance to hit the stage again.

“We haven’t done a musical in a long time,” she said.

When the government and school district relaxed COVID protocols in March, explained Fletcher-Allison, HCS’s drama department had to decide whether they had time and capabilities to throw together the show before the end of the school year. They believed it possible, and the staff and students were ready to take on the challenge.

For Grace McCully, in the role of Dorothy, it was a long wait to be back on stage.

“I love drama,” she said. “I like singing and dancing.”

For the participating middle school students, the roots of Wizard of Oz production date back to their days in elementary classes, when many of the roles were cast before the COVID shutdown.

For Brooklynn Whalen, cast as the Cowardly Lion, the May 18 show has extra special meaning. She is moving to Sussex at the end of the school year.

“This is my last chance to perform with my friends,” she said.;

Playing the Wicked Witch, Layla Walton is excited to hit the stage before the end of this school year, after a long wait through COVID restrictions. She said she loves performing.

Admission to the May 18 show at Hartland Community School is by donation, with proceeds supporting the school’s drama department.

The following are the directors and cast of Hartland Community School’s production of the Wizard of Oz.

Directors- Caroline Fletcher-Allison, Chantal Shaw, Deidre Everett, Amanda Craig, Amanda Carr, Heidi Culberson

Dorothy – Grace McCully

Aunt Em- Ava Doherty

Uncle Henry- Oliver Paget

Hunk-Georgia Brown

Hickory- Anders Albright

Miss Gulch-Sophie Mangum

Professor- Ramona Demerchant

Lady in Rocking Chair- Marlee Girdwood

Cow- Celena-K Orser

Rowboat Man #1 #2- Georgia Brown

Glinda- Jaelle Crouse

Munchkin #1- Quinn Brown

Munchkin #2- Ruby Munro

Toto- Sophie Mangum

Mayor of Munchkin Land- Mackenzi Till

Cornor- Ben Noble

Barrister- Corben Cullins

City Father #1- Lily Walton

City Father #2- Adelynn Till

Three Tots- Makenzi, Kylee and Nevaeh Wade

Wicked Witch- Layla Walton

Scarecrow- Haylee Johnston

Crows- Eli Essensa, Celena-K Orser, Anvi

Apple Tree #1- Georgia Brown

Apple Tree #2- Marlee Girdwood

Apple tree #3- Anvi Gattani

Tin Man- Sophia Lloyd

Lion- Brooklynn Whalen

Doorman- Anvi Gattani

Guard- Ramona DeMerchant

Oz Voice/Wizard- Marlee Girdwood

Nikko- Oliver Paget

Oz Woman- Georgia

Oz People- Marlee, Mikaela, Georgia, Celena, Ramona, Oliver and AndersAnvi Gattani Ava

Jitterbugs- Marlee, Georgia, Celena, Ramona, Anvi Gattani Jaelle

Monkeys- Oliver, Anders and Ramona

Cat- Celena-K

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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