There’s No Place Like Home

Talented Musical Cast Brings Us Back to Childhood

Alessia Hughes, Staff Writer

At 18 years old, I might legally be an adult, yet I am stuck in the in-betweenie stage of child and adult—better known as, adolescence.  I want to be able to do “adult things” yet at the same time, I don’t want to leave some childhood activities and interests behind.  And so Friday the 13th was my lucky day.  I got to do the adult thing of caring for myself from 2:30 to 7 and then I got to relive an important chunk of my childhood—The Wizard of Oz.

A cast of 18 girls and a crew of 8, this year’s musical brought the same energy, talent, and entertainment of musicals past.  But there was one thing that isn’t always given to a show’s audience: nostalgia—in the most positive way.  For two hours I was reminded of why I loved The Wizard of Oz when I was little.  Dorothy and her pals, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, were all brought to life again.  Hearing all of the songs again, particularly the magical Somewhere Over the Rainbow and King of the Forest, reminded me that these songs were the very first songs I learned.  The most famous lines (“just follow the yellow brick road”; “I’ll get you my pretty!”) were delivered with the same magic and love that the original movie cast did.

But with the wonderful way this cast and crew kept the best parts of the original, they added new, hilarious parts that gave their version an original flare and unique style.  Most prominent, was the switch of Uncle Henry to Aunt Henrietta.  Played by Molly Gilligan ’16, Aunt Henrietta was a character with no prior expectations, allowing for creative freedom.  Molly brought funny, unique lines that brought many laughs in tense moments between Dorothy and Mrs. Gulch.  Unfortunately, there was an obvious awkwardness in changing genders of Dorothy’s guardian.  By calling both Aunt Em and Henrietta “Mrs. Gale” and then referring to them as sisters, caused confusion and annoyance.  There has never been an issue with girls playing boys—and plenty do so in this show, but changing Henry to Henrietta caused questions for why this change occurred.  The one single note I wrote in the notebook I brought into the play was this exact question.  Why aren’t they just still Em and Henry?  Why aren’t they just still married either way?

Fortunately, each actress performed her best that this change was not the focus of the audience’s experience.  Alex Curley ’16 arguably stole the show with her portrayal of the ever-hilarious Cowardly Lion.  She brought the same comedy that Bert Lahr used in his character.  But while she gave us spot on imitations of one of the most known characters in show history, Alex also added more levels to the Lion’s character.  New jokes, about perms for example, allowed for the Lion to become a more modern character who is still in touch with his beginnings.

Costumes and makeup also added uniqueness to images that comes to everyone’s minds with they think “Oz”.  Dorothy, played by Maddie Levangie ’17, still donned her trademark brown braids, blue checkered dress, and ruby red slippers, but she each part of her costume did not just replicate the original.  The Cowardly Lion’s crumpled hair and stunning makeup, by Kat Beal ’16, let the original image of the Lion grow to a modern version.  The Tin Man, played by Hope Banach ’17, donned  the classic silver paint and tin-like outfit, but was given a new style, through Revolutionary Era curls.  The Scarecrow, played by Caroline Murphy-Racette ’18, instead of going the traditional green, wore a dark red shirt with dark brown, patterned pants.

The Good Witch, Glinda, played by Claire Picken ’17, switched colors from pink to blue, but also added a cape that lit up and brought a livelier side to her.  The Wicked Witch of the West, played by Katherine McGee ’16, was the most different from her movie counterpart.  Instead of a black cloak, she had a red gown with beautiful accessories.  Instead of the green body paint, this Wicked Witch looked like anyone else on the stage.  So yes, Katherine’s evil laugh was spot on, but she made every other part of her character was her own. Even more different from the movie, were the costumes of the Munchkins.  They were colorful, cute costumes that allowed for Munchkinland to be NCDS’ own creative fantasyland.

This year’s The Wizard of Oz, traveled back in time to each one of our childhoods, but also gave us a new memory of one of the most famous musicals of all time—this time during the middle and end of our adolescence.