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
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
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun