We’re Not in High School Anymore, Toto!

The Stoughton High School Performs “The Wizard of Oz”


The cast receives a standing ovation after taking bows.

The musical “The Wizard of Oz” was hosted and performed by Stoughton High School and its students over the weekend of Nov. 4–6. Friday and Saturday were performed at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s show started at 2 p.m.
Tickets were $8 for children, students, and seniors, and $12 for adults.
Leads included seniors Laura Perry as Dorothy, Sam Ross as the Scarecrow, Belinda Akale as the Tin Man, and Andy Schloesser as the Lion. The villain of the musical, the Wicked Witch, was played by junior Madeline Olsen, while their foil was the Good Witch Glinda, played by junior Molly Gracyalny. Alongside them were close to 85 other cast members, including elementary schoolers, middle schoolers, a technical crew, and dance ensemble.
The lead that played the Lion, Andy Schloesser, brought insight into the musical.
“There was a lot to be thrown together. You know, every show is big, but this one’s huge,” Schloesser says.
The musical was the standard “Wizard of Oz” storyline. Dorothy gets transported to the land of Oz through a passing “twister” and finds that she accidentally dropped her house on the Wicked Witch of the East. She then gains the classic ruby-red slippers and goes on a journey where she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion on her way to find home. The musical followed a similar path to the movie, with a few liberties taken because it was live theater.
Coordinator of the Performing Arts Center and technical director of the musical, Jerry Moy, explained one of those liberties.
“When the witch went down in the floor […] we had a trapdoor that we opened up in and a lift that we could lower her down on,” Moy says.
The show included two acts, with ten songs in Act I and five songs in Act II. Every member on stage had an individual costume plus a role to play.
The director of the musical, Deedee Bouzek, discussed the planning of the play in an email.
“The date of both the play and the musical is determined by [the] availability of the performing arts center [and] no concerts or meetings for at least four weeks [can happen] so we can build a set on stage. It is also determined by other school activities so as to not overextend [the] parking lot or staff,” Bouzek states.
With a big show comes big responsibilities.
“Technically ‘Wizard of Oz’ is a difficult show. There are lots of locations, magic, and over 150 costumes that all have to work together,” Bouzek says.
The show encountered a couple of problems before and during the show, which involved the Tin Man’s microphone going out during the Friday performance. There wasn’t much to be done, so as not to have a hissy and crackly microphone for the rest of the show, so it had to be cut completely.
The assistant director and choreographer of the show, Natalie Norlin, explained the importance of such a performance.
“There were a lot less people on stage last year. This year […] really showcased the joy that live theater can give by including the younger children [and] ope- ning up and having this well-known show onstage for a large part of the community to see,” Norlin says.
The younger children were also a big part of the musical as part of the dance ensemble. Children are a part of the shows about every five to seven years. The last show that had them was “The Little Mermaid,” so it was relatively new for some of the cast members.
“They just get so excited. It’s so fun to see people’s first show because they start to love theater, and it builds this love of theater that I hope will continue throug- hout their high school and middle school years,” Perry says.
The decisions involving the musical were made and auditions were held this past spring. From there, rehearsals started at the beginning of September and continued throughout October.
“It’s […] a matter of coming together as the adult team and helping guide the high schoolers and then the younger kids into what they’ll need to do for the show,” Norlin says.
Perry—the actor who played Dorothy—mentioned challenges during the preparation.
“Our director had an injury, we missed a lot of rehearsals, and a whole bunch of other things were going on. There were so many lines to memorize, so many songs, so many dances, and just so little time, but I think we all […] pulled it together at the last second,” Perry says.
A standing ovation was given after the cast took bows during the Saturday performance.