Theater review: The Wizard of Oz

By Anna Robertson

Dark shadowy figures take their place on stage as the light above the audience fades in and out before finally turning off completely. We can make out the set: a rickety house situated on stage left and a wheat field composed of evenly spaced painted stalks. This must be Kansas.

The Longhorn Theatre department recently put on one of the most elaborate, if not the most elaborate, production in LCISD history on Friday, Dec. 5. “The Wizard of Oz” was truly a united effort. Theatre, choir, band, and art students all came together to make the production a success. And a success it was.

The opening scene featured several of the theatre department’s best assets.  As “The Wizard of Oz” score is one of the most well-known musical soundtracks of all time, it was critical that it was performed correctly. Luckily, the Longhorn theatre and choir departments are full of vocal talent. Senior Haley Enns, a member of both departments and recently named first chair of the pre-area choir in the UIL contest, performed the classic “Over the Rainbow”.  Enns wasn’t the only one with a voice on stage that night. Fellow actors senior Abby Eschler as the Good Witch, senior Sean Hardin as the Scarecrow, senior Shannon Paradine as the Lion, and junior Arnold Alaniz as the Tinman all performed extraordinarily well as the night progressed.

In addition to outstanding vocals, the theatre department recently became the proud owners of a “flying” system in which actors are attached to harnesses and are able to “fly” over the stage. They made great use of this system throughout the play, and although at some points it seemed unnecessary, the audience never grew tired of watching students zip across the stage. It seemed particularly amazing when Dorothy was whisked away by the frightful tornado–a theatrical wonder all on its own. The twister wasn’t some simple cardboard cutout; it actually whirled across the stage, again, making use of the new toy.

From the vocals to the flying, what the theatre department failed to do was compromise. They simply refused to sacrifice quality no matter what the cost.  The world of Oz is not one that can be recreated by traditional high school theatre tricks. The munchkins, Toto, the flying witches, and the fantastic “Oz” were as real as they could get. Elementary aged aspiring actors lent a hand as the munchkins and thanks to those in the set design, Oz was a towering statue of pure fright. Lastly, Toto was a living breathing dog, courtesy of Hardin and his family.

It’s rare that quality entertainment comes in $10 packages, or for students, just $5. If you didn’t get the chance to see it, you’ll have to wait till theatre’s One Act play this spring. And good luck to those involved. This will be a tough act to follow.