In the merry old land of OzMCC's curtain rises Thursday on 'The Wizard of Oz'
With a new director and a cast that ranges from seniors to fourth-graders, the drama department at Murray County Central (MCC) is off to see the wizard — complete with munchkins, music and sparkly red shoes.
By: Justine Wettschreck, Worthington Daily Globe
SLAYTON — With a new director and a cast that ranges from seniors to fourth-graders, the drama department at Murray County Central (MCC) is off to see the wizard — complete with munchkins, music and sparkly red shoes. The MCC presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday, with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. each evening.
Making his MCC directorial debut is Andy Malvin, who teaches English and has been coaching Mock Trial for two years. Malvin has directed community theater productions, but this is first show with the MCC drama department.
“I think its going well,” he said Saturday, keeping a close eye on the stage. “It has been a good time, and the kids are great at helping things along. They are very creative.”
The cast is a mixture of experienced MCC thespians and newcomers — the little people in particular. With a gang of more than 30 munchkins and residents of Oz, a slew of fourth- through sixth-grade students were invited to join in the fun.
Senior Katie Beech, who plays the character of Dorothy, said the shorter cast members keep things interesting.
“They sing well, and they bring a lot of enthusiasm to the show,” she said.
Scarecrow Nick Wettschreck, also a senior, said the children add an interesting effect — size contrast.
“And they have that kid cuteness thing,” he laughed. “Kid spirit, to remind you how to be a kid again.”
As the countdown to opening night gets closer, the group is working to pull the last-minute strings of the show together. Things always come together in the last few days, Malvin said.
Sam Buesing, a senior who plays the tin man, said working with a new director has been interesting.
“And the cast is working hard to get things ready,” he added.
Cowardly Lion Dan Beech, a junior — and Katie’s brother — said the cast members who have needed to step up and help out have done so.
“It is going to be a good show,” he said.
The Beech siblings aren’t the only brother-sister set in the cast. Suzie Buesing, the sophomore who plays Glinda the good witch, is the little sister of Sam. Both brothers agree that during practice, they don’t think of their siblings as sisters, just castmates.
Dorothy/Katie, who gets the opportunity to give the Cowardly Lion a fake slap on the face, said it is fun to work with her brother, but admitted she sometimes has a hard time keeping a straight face when he goes into his cowardly routines.
Suzie is having a good time playing the good fairy, commenting that it is fun to be so happy all the time. Junior Meghan Carney, who plays the Wicked Witch, disagreed.
“Being bad is much more fun,” she teased. “You get to act all evil all the time.”
With a live orchestra led by music director Chad Felton, and the enthusiasm of the cast, the show is sure to be an exciting and entertaining trip down the yellow brick road.
One thing that might surprise the audience is an original scene in the play that was cut out of the famous movie. Instead of the usual “Lions and tigers and bears” mantra most Oz fans are familiar with, Malvin chose to stick with the Jitterbug scene.
“Using that scene allows us to take it and make it our own,” said Sam. “Not just copy the movie.”
“I like the Jitterbug scene,” Wettschreck added. “We’re sticking to the original script, and it’s fun. Besides, dancing to death is such a silly way to go, and I like silly.”