So You Wanted To Meet The Wiz?Monday, September 12, 2011 By Liz Trueblood
So You Wanted To Meet The Wizard? By: Liz Trueblood If you were anywhere near the OHS Performing Arts Center from June 1st to July 16th, then there is a very good chance that you heard students singing this question to one another: “So you wanted to meet the Wizard?” What significance does this question have, you ask? It was the mantra of every person who participated in the 2011 Summer Musical, both production and performance, of the Broadway hit The Wiz. This Tony Award-winning musical is a modern rendition of The Wizard of Oz, featuring more current styles of music such as jazz and hip-hop. The modern music and more comedic air of The Wiz made the show fun for both the cast and audience. “It’s so much fun to be in a creative environment where everyone is so talented,” said junior Jenna Malzacher, three-show veteran of the Drama club and Gatekeeper in The Wiz. Malzacher’s sentiment was shared by the entire cast, as well as audience members. OHS alum and drama veteran Lindsey Beatse had this to say about the show: “It was great to just sit back and enjoy the show. Sitting in the front row, with all of my friends on stage, is my new favorite part of drama.” Fun though production was, though, it was not without its challenges. The music was very stylistic, and allowed vocal performers, especially soloists, to take liberties with the melody, which sometimes made it difficult for vocalists to coordinate with the pit orchestra. Junior Becca Horning, who played the part of Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, said that the hardest part of coordinating for her was the fact that she learned her solo first by herself, and then with the pit. “[The hardest part was] getting together with the pit and trying to get the rhythm right. With my solo specifically, I learned it at a much slower tempo than the pit was playing it at, and I had gotten so used to the slower tempo, that I really had to work to get it right.” The set was also a challenge. Two ramps were installed leading from platforms over the orchestra pit down into the audience, so cast members could interact with the audience, as well as dance among them. One of these ramps was, in fact, the source of the one major injury that occurred during production. During a dance that required her to jump from the ramp to the floor, sophomore Lauren Yaeger landed on her ankle just the wrong way, breaking it during rehearsal. “My first thought was, ‘You’re fine! No big deal!’ Then, they told me it was broken, and there would be no show for me. I was sad to say the least, but then, the day after I broke it, Mr. Reimler told me that I could still be in the show, even on crutches! During the show, I felt pretty good. Now, looking back at pictures from the show, I think it looked a little funny, but it turned out great in the end!” But, through all the challenges, everyone, cast and audience alike, had amazing fun with this show. Senior Josh Wilson said his favorite things about the show were “The friendships made, and the awesome feeling after the second performance when I know all my hard work turned out to be worth something.” Now that the curtain has fallen and you’ve met the Wiz, there is only one question left to ask: What could OHS Drama possibly do to top this?