by David Hawkins
This year’s district wide musical is completely different from last year’s Shrek: the Musical. The Dorman Theater Department’s Wizard of Oz shows all of the department’s strengths and also serves as the final main production for many mainstays of the Dorman stage. This show was directed by Leah Wren with Leena Bishop as the assistant director, Christel Hendricks as stage manager, and Mattison Lawson as assistant stage manager.
One part of the cast to note is the four key characters (Dorothy. the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion) are portrayed by non-seniors (Sarah Hoffman, Perrion Porter, David Pierce, and EJ Daniels respectively). These students do very well with their roles. Newcomer to the Dorman Theater Department, David Pierce, particularly shines. Pierce’s theatre debut really brings his character to life, though this is not his first time on the Dorman stage as he has participated in both chorus and Dorman’s Got Talent.
Sarah Hoffman captures the look and character of Dorothy. She really steals the show in her solo musical numbers (“Over the Rainbow”, and “Over the Rainbow Reprise”) as well as the musical numbers in which she sings with other characters. This is her first major role but she was previously an ensemble member in Shrek: the Musical.
Perrion Porter, previously Shrek‘s Donkey, once again takes a lead for a District 6 musical. This character is very different from his previous characters. The Scarecrow, of course, lacks a brain and that is his goal when he is the first to join Dorothy on her trip to see the Wizard of Oz. EJ Daniels is the last to join the group on their mission. Daniels plays the iconic cowardly Lion. Daniels most recent role on the Dorman stage was as Calvin Clamskey in Touchtone M for Murder.
The play captures the magic of its source material. The technical aspects definitely help to bring this story to life. There is the projector (Rebecca Wolfe) that brings to life Trey Westbrook’s titular Wizard and then there is the flying monkeys and the flying Wicked Witch of the West (Kalista Pederson). This show really took the technical capabilities of the Dorman theatre to the next level. Every technical part of this show worked together seamlessly: the lights (Leeann Wyatt), the set design (Pam Haloulos), the sound (Carley Ballard), and the various other special effects (Justice Schuyler). The crews in charge of set changes and other technical aspects of this particular show also deserve a lot of credit. They truly brought the magic to life for the audience.
Overall this was an amazing show with some impressive effects. All of the actors did well at portraying their characters and the ensemble members did amazing on their musical numbers. Brandon Bruce, who played Nikko, cited “Jitterbug” as his favorite musical number, and many audience members seemed to share this sentiment.
With this show coming to a close, the Dorman Theatre Department will be saying goodbye to many great individuals both on stage and behind the scenes. One such senior, Jack Bingham, has learned “to be more open as a person, because of the variety of characters he gets to play.” He expressed that he is able to “use these characters to develop as a person” even if he is very different from the roles he is given. Bingham went from “seniors [teaching him] how actual theatre works” to being able to do the same for younger theatre students. Another senior, Zach Urban, expressed how thankful he was for the Theatre Department actually allowing him to be trusted with creative control with his own original production, Whitfield. There are many more theatre students who will be graduating this year that have graced the Dorman stage and backstage. Below is the list of students who worked on the Wizard of Oz who will be graduating this year.